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The Daily Tar Heel

Ally Sentnor and Savy King among six Tar Heels selected in 2024 NWSL Draft

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UNC redshirt sophomore midfielder Ally Sentnor (21) looks for someone to pass to during the first-round NCAA Division I game against Towson on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, at Dorrance Field. UNC wins 3-1.

To say the UNC women’s soccer team was well-represented in the 2024 National Women's Soccer League Draft would be a bit of an understatement.

The first two selections in Friday night’s draft were both Tar Heels. The Utah Royals selected redshirt sophomore forward Ally Sentnor first overall, before Bay FC drafted first-year defender Savy King with the second pick.

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UNC first-year defender Savy King (3) vies for posession in the August 20, 2023 game against the University of California at Dorrance Field. UNC beat the University of California 3-1.

All told, six Tar Heels were selected out of 56 picks on Friday night, tying the NWSL Draft record for draft selections from a single school. 

Sentnor joins Crystal Dunn and Emily Fox as Tar Heels that were selected with the top pick.

“When people look at these great players they say, ‘Oh she’s got so much natural talent.’ Well you know what, yes, she’s talented, but everyone on our roster is talented,” head coach Anson Dorrance said about Sentnor after a NCAA Tournament win over Towson on Nov. 10. “The thing that separates Ally is her commitment to her craft. She wakes up every morning and she sorts out, ‘What am I going to do today to get better?’”

In 2014, Dunn was picked first, followed by UNC teammate Kealia Ohai. Sentnor and King have now accomplished the same feat 10 years later.

To cap off the first round, NJ/NY Gotham FC selected redshirt senior defender Maycee Bell 14th overall. The three Tar Heel selections in round one set an NWSL draft record for first-round picks from one school.

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UNC redshirt senior defender Maycee Bell (25) fights for the ball during the first-round NCAA Division I game against Towson on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, at Dorrance Field. UNC wins 3-1.

North Carolina also had two players picked in the second round. Seattle Reign selected senior midfielder Sam Meza 17th overall, and the Houston Dash chose senior forward Avery Patterson with the 19th pick.

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UNC senior midfielder Sam Meza (10) drives the ball up the field during the first-round NCAA Division I game against Towson on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, at Dorrance Field. UNC wins 3-1.

The five Tar Heels selected in the first two rounds were crucial contributors during the 2023 season. Sentnor, the ACC Midfielder of the Year, led the team in points with 29, while Patterson added 20After a 6-1 senior day win, Dorrance said Patterson was “the kind of a player where she can score a goal a game.”

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UNC senior forward Avery Patterson (15) chases after the ball during the first-round NCAA Division I game against Towson on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, at Dorrance Field. UNC wins 3-1.

King, whose Tar Heel debut Dorrance called “the best first-game performance by a freshman in the history of our program,” anchored the UNC defense alongside Bell, and both received All-ACC Second Team honors. Meza, a Third-Team All-American in 2022, was the glue that linked everything together for the Tar Heels in the midfield.

“Sam Meza, for all of her brilliant and creative attacking skills, is also an absolutely fabulous defender,” Dorrance said after a 2023 tournament victory against Alabama on Nov. 17.

Also a member of the women’s lacrosse team while at UNC, graduate defender Julia Dorsey, who did not play this past season due to an injury, rounded out the Tar Heels’ class. She was taken 40th overall in the third round by the North Carolina Courage.

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Junior defender Julia Dorsey (7) prepares to kick the ball in a game against the University of Virginia on Oct. 3. The Tar Heels tied with the Cavaliers 0-0.

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Emmie Allen and graduate defender Emily Moxley registered for the draft but were not selected.

The draftees will begin their professional careers when the 2024 NWSL season kicks off on March 16.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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