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Top-scorer Ally Sentnor leads UNC women's soccer to 4-0 win at N.C. State

UNC redshirt sophomore midfielder/forward Ally Sentnor (21) dribbling the ball during the game versus the Florida State Seminoles at Dorrance Field on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. The Tar Heels tied 3-3.

The first item on the North Carolina women's soccer team's list of 13 core values is "We don't whine."

It's a principle that head coach Anson Dorrance sees most exemplified in redshirt sophomore midfielder Ally Sentnor.

“She’s a great example for anyone that wants to get to higher and higher levels,” Dorrance said. “She was our leading scorer alongside [sophomore forward Maddie Dahlien] in the U-20 World Cup qualifying. She’s checking every box and the way she’s playing now, I bet every coach starts screaming whenever she gets the ball, ‘Don’t let her shoot, don’t let her shoot, don’t let her shoot.’”

Despite opposing teams' efforts to contain Sentnor, the 2022 first-team All-ACC selectee leads UNC with five goals this season. In the Tar Heels' 4-0 win at N.C. State on Saturday, Sentnor extended her goal-scoring streak to three games.

Sentnor's dynamic ball control was on display against the Wolfpack.

Just 37 seconds into the second half, the midfielder-forward hybrid found herself with two defenders in front of her. She dribbled to her left, looking for an open window to shoot the ball and found one. In between six Wolfpack players, Sentnor fired the ball in the top right corner of the goal to put UNC up 3-0.

Despite missing the 2021 season due to an ACL tear, Sentnor has amassed 35 career points. The only active Tar Heel who has recorded more since Aug. 2021 is senior forward Avery Patterson.

After a long road to recovery during which she posted monthly Instagram updates and watched her team from the sidelines, Sentnor's success is a product of her grit, and she's not slowing down anytime soon.

“I’m really excited to continue improving,” Sentnor said. “I am nowhere near where I want to be.”

Although the usual recovery timeline for a torn ACL is 18 months, Sentnor was cleared to return to the field after just eight. Since then — on top of her impact at UNC — she's played for the U.S Women’s U-20 National Team, participating in the Sud Ladies Cup and the U-20 World Cup.

Part of what makes Sentnor such a coveted soccer player is her ability to dribble and shoot in tight spaces.

It's a skill Sentnor gained through futsal — a five-on-five variation of soccer played on a hardwood surface about a third of the size of a soccer field. Due to Massachusetts' harsh winters, it's the only kind of soccer she could play during the colder months. 

Sentnor's father was a former professional futsal player, and Sentnor said the sport has helped in developing her vision. 

“You really have to learn how to get out of a telephone booth,” Sentnor said. “You have to maneuver just getting out of tight spaces."

The Hanson, Mass. native's work ethic has made her a role model to her younger teammates.

Dorrance said that whenever Dahlien stands next to him, he nudges her to 'look at what Sentnor is doing', given the two forwards' similar attacking styles. Dahlien, who was named to the 2022 ACC All-Freshman Team, is one of several young talents who will continue learning from Sentnor's versatile abilities.

“It’s almost like [Sentnor] comes with her hard hat on and her lunch pail and she gets to work," Dorrance said. "I’ve been using her as an example for so much of my roster."

Whether it was honing her skills through futsal, recovering from a torn ACL or her meteoric rise to being one of North Carolina's top scorers, Sentnor's grit has propelled her through it all. And, as the Tar Heels look to make another deep postseason run, expect them to look to Sentnor to make a play — and not whine about it.


@dthsports |

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