The No. 1 North Carolina women’s soccer team (7-0-3, 2-0 ACC) defeated the No. 22 Virginia Cavaliers (5-1-3, 0-1-1 ACC), 1-0, at Klöckner Stadium in Charlottesville, marking the Tar Heels' fifth top-25 win this season.
The match kicked off quickly, with both teams fighting for possession. The first ten minutes were filled with back-to-back shots from UNC first-year midfielder Melina Rebimbas and Virginia midfielder Yuna McCormack.
Hitting the pitch after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Virginia Tech on Friday, the Tar Heels repeated their new 4-1-3-2 formation, employed by head coach Anson Dorrance and assistant coach Damon Nahas. Virginia maintained possession throughout the first half with five shots to UNC's four — just the second time North Carolina has been outshot in a half this season.
Senior midfielder Sam Meza and redshirt sophomore midfielder Emerson Elgin changed the course of the game for UNC, regaining possession and pushing the Cavaliers back.
In the 55th minute, UNC claimed the only goal of the match off redshirt sophomore Ally Sentnor's ball control. The midfielder carried the ball down the left side into the box, leading to a left-footed strike that hooked over the Virginia goalkeeper Cayla White into the top right corner of the net. Sentnor maintained pressure for the rest of the half with three more shots.
Sentnor’s goal rekindled the Tar Heels energy, leading to seven shots in the second half alone from first-year forward Mia Oliaro, Elgin and Sentnor. The Hanson, Mass. native provided crucial pressure and an offensive spark that helped the Tar Heels control possession in the second half, ending the match with a game-high five shots.
The Tar Heels will continue their ranked weekend slate on Sunday at home against the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles. Kickoff is scheduled for noon at Dorrance Field.