You’ve heard this story before. It happened just two weeks ago against Florida State.
No. 1 North Carolina women’s soccer is up by a goal and there’s not much time left on the clock — all the Tar Heels need to do is find a way to hold the ball.
Against No. 22 Duke on Saturday, UNC failed to do that. Instead, the Tar Heels booted the ball down the field multiple times, gifting the Blue Devils more attacking opportunities. In the 90th minute, Duke capitalized, tying the game 1-1 and signaling the second late-game breakdown from the nation’s top-ranked team in just a two-week span.
While the Tar Heels are still undefeated, this is notably the first season in program history that the Tar Heels have recorded five draws.
“[The Florida State game,] the NCAA championship game last year – we can sort of add all those different things up,” head coach Anson Dorrance said. “This is becoming a theme that we don’t want to keep repeating.”
As Duke’s Cameron Roller looked towards the goal, she found her teammate Kat Rader unmarked in the middle of the box. Rader headed the ball past redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Emmie Allen, and a minute later, the dark blue scoreboard in the corner of Koskinen Stadium reflected the final score: 1-1.
Up until that point, Allen was having, arguably, her best game of the year. The High Point, N.C. native faced consistent pressure from the Blue Devils, recording four saves to tie her season high.
Yet, her decision-making played a part in Duke’s last-minute goal.
With just over two minutes remaining, Allen corralled a Blue Devils free kick. Seeing Duke goalkeeper Leah Freeman hustling to get back to her goal, she sensed an opportunity to double down on North Carolina’s lead.