The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Monday, May 27, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Despite third consecutive draw, No. 3 UNC women's soccer remains optimistic

0823_LCrochik_wsoccscrimmage-4.jpg

UNC redshirt senior defender Maycee Bell (25) getting ready to kick the ball during a women’s soccer exhibition against the East Carolina University Pirates at Dorrance Field on Saturday, August 12, 2023. The Tar Heels won 2-0.

After No. 3 UNC women's soccer's draw with No. 12 Notre Dame on Thursday evening, Anson Dorrance could've been frustrated about plenty of things. 

Instead, following his team's third-straight 1-1 draw, the head coach is pointing to the positives. 

“Here we are with two games left, and we’re undefeated,” Dorrance said. “How bad could that be? So no, I’m not giving up hope, I think this team is a nice team.”

One of the positives is that North Carolina has figured out once again how to score on its corner kicks. After failing to capitalize on two corners early on, the Tar Heels had another chance — and they ensured it didn’t go to waste.

As sophomore defender Tessa Dellarose's kick soared through the air, graduate defender Maycee Bell positioned herself to win the header. She easily soared over her defender and passed the ball to senior forward Avery Patterson, who kicked it past the goalkeeper without needing to look where she was shooting, scoring UNC’s first goal off of a corner kick since Sept. 30.

“I think it’s kind of one of those things where you know where the goal is in the back of your head and you know Maycee’s always going to win those headers if it’s a one-on-one,” Patterson said.

Despite scoring a “wacky” goal to set the tone, Patterson didn’t necessarily share the same sentiment as her coach, citing the team’s post-game talk when associate head coach Damon Nahas asked how they felt after another draw.

“A lot of us were saying frustrated,” Patterson said. “Just because whenever we tie, we normally outplay [our opponent.] I think if you look at possession again, we have the greater amount of possession, corner kicks. [The] stats show in our favor.”

As Patterson stated, a part of the frustration stems from the fact that North Carolina has dominated possession but has recently found itself only having one goal to show for it.

But amid the frustration, she sees a silver lining to this.

“I think that it’s one of those things where people go through spells in the season,” Patterson said. “My sophomore year it was [that] we couldn’t score. So I mean, it’s not that we aren’t scoring, it’s just that we’re not scoring enough. It always could be worse, and I think that we’re just looking at the positive side right now.”

Bell echoed her teammate's sentiments, acknowledging that the outcome of the game didn’t diminish the quality of play from the Tar Heels on Sunday — and it’s a fair point.

Against a top-25 team, with a target on their backs holding an undefeated record in the tail end of the season, UNC held a team that came into Friday boasting 18.2 shots per game to just two. Yet still, Bell knows that the outcome should’ve been different.

“I understand what [Dorrance] is saying just because we played really well and we deserved to win,” Bell said. “I think that’s what’s frustrating to me is I know we were the better team and we deserved to win and yet that didn’t show up on the scoreboard. Overall though, I am very pleased with how we played.”

With just two games left in the regular season, North Carolina is looking to achieve its first undefeated regular season since the 2020-21 season, when they went 13-0 across the fall and spring.

Even if they can accomplish this feat, it won’t mean as much if they can’t top it off with national title No. 23 in ’23. For now, though, Dorrance is just happy with the quality of play his team has shown through turmoil.

“Despite some of the injuries, even the one we lost again Wake, I’ve got a certain level of optimism and hopefully we can finish out well and do well in the ACC tournament and the NCAA Tournament.”

@thenoahmonroe

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.