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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC women's soccer closes out regular season at Boston College with 1-1 draw

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Then UNC red shirt first-year Ally Sentnor (21) receives a pass during UNC's game against FSU in the NCAA semifinals at WakeMed Soccer Park on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.

The No. 3 North Carolina women’s soccer team (10-0-8, 5-0-5 ACC) tied with Boston College (3-9-6, 0-6-4 ACC), 1-1, on the road for its final game of the regular season on Thursday evening. 

Following a big win against Syracuse on Sunday, the Tar Heels hoped to continue that momentum onto the pitch this Thursday but fell short facing a strong performance from BC and many close calls. 

This is UNC’s eighth tie game of the season, but the first game during which they have trailed at the half. The first half began with several goals almost going in for North Carolina.

However, it was BC who scored first with a little over thirteen minutes left in the first half. Eagle forward Aislin Streicek scored off a corner kick as redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Emmie Allen had a slight mistouch of the ball, allowing it to slip into the net. 

Trailing 0-1 at the half, it was clear the Tar Heels needed to regroup during halftime. 

“We didn’t think our commitment and focus in that first half was good enough,” head coach Anson Dorrance said. 

Coming into the second half, it still took some time before the next point was scored. BC’s goalie Wiebke Willebrandt was relentless in blocking shot after shot. This continued throughout the match, although UNC took 21 shots — 12 on goal — all but one were blocked. UNC held BC to just three shots on goal letting that one corner kick slide into the net.

The narrative for the season remained the same: UNC wasn’t converting its goal opportunities. That was until the 17th minute of the second half when redshirt sophomore midfielder Ally Sentnor found a window. 

Sentnor dribbled up the right sideline past two BC defenders. She moved in towards the penalty area as she was met by two more defenders. She swiftly changed directions from what they expected, sweeping her left foot across her body to strike the ball and find the back right of the goal – out of Willebrandt’s reach.

“I’d love to pretend to take any credit at all for that goal, but honestly she came in with that quality," Dorrance said, also commenting on Sentnor's unique dribbling style and capabilities.

Thursday evening was like a homecoming for Sentnor, who grew up in Hanson, Mass. — a suburb of Boston. Upon arriving for the game, she was greeted by former youth coaches, friends, and family cheering her on. According to Dorrance, it was in fact her Boston roots that gave her an edge over others — but not in the way one would expect. 

The secret to Sentnor’s unique dribbling style can be traced back to her player development during those long winters growing up.

“You know we can probably survive in Chapel Hill all winter without going indoors, but not in Boston,” he said. “So almost every Boston player has to have a solution for their winter player development.”

Surprisingly enough, Sentnor’s solution was futsal. Her youth coach played professional futsal in Italy before moving to the U.S. and thereafter used it as a development tool for her youth players. Playing futsal ultimately helped Sentnor set herself apart as Dorrance credits it to her style today.

Amidst the excitement about Sentnor’s goal, the roster also finds a sense of disappointment about their missed opportunities and yet another tie this season. The tie isn’t what the Tar Heels had hoped for, but Dorrance is optimistic heading into a postseason that will allow for overtime play. 

“That’s another way to solve the conundrum of tying games,” he said while discussing overtime.

Following the conclusion of ACC play on Thursday night, the league released the bracket for the ACC tournament, where UNC will play as a four-seed. The Tar Heels will face Pitt in the first round at Dorrance Field on Sunday, October 29th in the first round. Whoever advances from that game will go on to face the number one seed, Florida State. 

When asked about outlook and preparation going into the ACC Tournament, Dorrance had a simple answer.

“I think our schedule has prepared us for anything,” he said. 

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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