All season, the North Carolina women’s soccer players wrote "FTS" on their wrist tape, signifying the program's years-long motto: "For the seniors."
After a three-game streak of 1-1 draws, the Tar Heels finally put a stop to their offensive troubles in a 6-1 victory over Syracuse on Sunday's senior day. Four of the six goals came from seniors themselves, providing a fitting end to their final regular season game at Dorrance Field.
“Honestly, it’s been really emotional,” redshirt senior defender Maycee Bell said. “We have our senior posters and senior locker room decorations. It’s been a long five years, but a short five years, and I am so happy for the class I’m graduating with, and I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.”
Bell welcomed nine of her loved ones on the field for the pre-game festivities, the largest group of any of her teammates, and she said it was the first time in her five-year college career that all nine of them were in the crowd to watch her play.
So, when sophomore forward Maddie Dahlien passed the ball into the box amidst a crowd of white and orange jerseys in the 35th minute, Bell made sure she got her foot on it, putting it past the keeper to score her first goal in over two years.
“It was honestly a dream come true to score in front of them,” Bell said. “I’ve been working really hard to try and get that, so it was awesome.”
Bell’s goal came at a perfect time — not only for her but for the team as well.
To start the game, the Tar Heels missed 14 shots, prompting head coach Anson Dorrance to tell his team, “If you shoot the ball over the bar, I’m immediately subbing you.” After that, the goal-scoring barrage began.
Two of those scores came from senior forward Avery Patterson in the second half. Patterson’s first goal in the 77th minute, a header in which she toppled over her defender on her way down, was Dorrance’s favorite memory from the day.