The No. 3 North Carolina women’s soccer team (9-0-6, 4-0-3 ACC) drew with Wake Forest (8-2-4, 2-2-3 ACC), 1-1, on Friday for the teams’ first meeting in Winston-Salem since 2017 and the Tar Heels’ second consecutive one-goal tie.
The opening minutes were characterized by a series of throw-ins, one induced by a well-read defensive interception by first-year midfielder Evelyn Shores. Continuing an impressive defensive stance, sophomore defender Kayleigh Herr deterred quick penetration from the Wake Forest striker core. Several through balls were well-placed in the attacking third through the first ten minutes, but were out of reach of senior midfielder Talia DellaPeruta.
Shores, recovering from a torn labrum last spring, was injured in the 12th minute. She was carried off the pitch after getting tied up with a Demon Deacon on the near sideline.
The Tar Heels registered their first shot on goal in the 17th minute with a strong left-footed strike by redshirt sophomore midfielder Ally Sentnor. The aggressive 4-2-4 formation drawn up by head coach Anson Dorrance was conducive to a flurry of substitutions towards the latter half of the first 45 minutes. The physicality mounted as well, with North Carolina responsible for 12 fouls in the opening half.
Wake Forest midfielder Malaika Meena served a beautiful ball off a set piece outside the box, which was anticipated by the North Carolina back line. After a relatively calm pace, the Demon Deacons found their first shot attempt and a flurry of chances that were stymied by a stalwart UNC defense. The scoreless tie was preserved heading into halftime.
An aggressive Tar Heel attack produced the team’s second shot on goal within the first twenty seconds of the second 45 minutes. Wake Forest quickly retaliated with a good look of their own in the same opening minute, missing the net wide right. The shift to a 4-2-3-1 formation early in the period was indicative of an assertive effort to create chances offensively to exploit Wake Forest’s second string goalkeeper.
On a controversial no-offside call, a lapse in Wake Forest’s attention left senior captain forward Avery Patterson uncovered near the baseline. She cashed in her fifth goal of the season in the 59th minute, tying Sentnor for the team lead and tallying a 1-0 scoresheet.
“We scouted that Wake would have a high line, so I made sure to stay onsides” Patterson said. “I know there was a bit of controversy after the play, but I’ve been offsides a couple of times in the last couple of games so I was making sure to look at the warning.”
Wake Forest was visibly frustrated by UNC’s maintenance of a slow tempo, inducing the second Demon Deacon yellow card around the 75th minute. However, former Tar Heel Emily Murphy capitalized upon a UNC defensive miscommunication, finding the equalizer for Wake Forest eight minutes later.