The No. 1 North Carolina women’s soccer team (9-0-5, 4-0-2 ACC) drew with No. 22 Duke (5-4-3, 1-2-3 ACC), 1-1, in a back-and-forth and fast-paced rivalry showdown at Koskinen Stadium on Sunday in Durham.
North Carolina won both matches against Duke last season, including a penalty-shootout victory in the ACC Tournament.
The Tar Heels registered their first shot on goal just two minutes in, when redshirt sophomore forward Ally Sentnor charged to the top of the box before blasting a left-footed shot towards the far post. Duke goalkeeper Leah Freeman was up to the challenge, however, making the save at full stretch.
Around the 20-minute mark, Duke was able to win the ball high up the field and record two shots. Blue Devil midfielder Maggie Graham’s left-footed effort did not find the target. Forward Grace Watkins’ shot did, but UNC redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Emmie Allen made a comfortable save.
A big chance for Duke came in the 40th minute. After a scramble just outside the UNC penalty area, the ball fell to Duke forward Mia Minestrella. With only Allen between her and the back of the net, she dragged her shot wide of the goal.
UNC controlled possession at times throughout the first half, but struggled to create clear cut chances. Duke grew into the game as the half progressed. Looking to counter attack against the Tar Heels, the Blue Devils out shot UNC 5-4. Both teams’ back lines held firm, and the game was level at zero after 45 minutes.
“It’s a rivalry game,” head coach Anson Dorrance said after the match. “They’re always going to play us tough. I thought Duke, first half especially, was outstanding.”
UNC broke the deadlock in the 59th minute off a goal from junior midfielder Emily Colton. Redshirt sophomore defender Emerson Elgin made a weaving run into the Duke box before poking the ball towards Colton, whose right-footed screamer gave Freeman no chance, as it struck the bottom of the crossbar before crossing the line.
For Colton, it was her second goal of the season and second in her last two games. She scored the winner against Miami on Thursday.