No. 11 Virginia falls 2-1 to No. 8 North Carolina on Sunday
unior midfielder Montana Sutton (Bedminster, N.J.) gave the Cavaliers the early lead, but two unanswered goals in the first half proved to be the difference as No. 11 Virginia (6-3-2, 1-1-1 ACC) fell to No. 8 North Carolina (7-2-0, 3-0-0 ACC) by a score of 2-1 on Sunday (Sept. 24) at Klöckner Stadium.
The offensive production came in the first half with Sutton finding the net in the 12th minute for the Cavaliers, only to see North Carolina respond with goals in the 24th and 28th minutes to take the lead. Virginia would settle in and pressure offensively in the second half, but couldn’t find the equalizing goal as the Tar Heels picked up the 2-1 win.
“I don’t think we came out as hard as we needed to and we had too many spaces in between our lines defensively,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “We turned the ball over too easily offensively and that was the difference in them getting their goals. Once we sorted it out in the second half, that was what we wanted to do and it’s disappointing because you saw our potential. But, against a team like (UNC) you can’t do it for only 65 minutes or so.
“(In the second half) we were more compact and did a better job of winning tackles and some 50-50 balls. But, we took care of the ball. In the first half after we scored, we lost the rudder a little bit. I told them team we have to focus on the second half moving forward. There were a lot of good things in the second half and we controlled a good chunk of the game there.”
Laurel Ivory (Surfside, Fla.) came up with a big save in the third minute as the Tar Heels got a one-on-one chance with Bridget Andrzejewski in behind the defense. Andrzejewski fired the shot across the face of the goal, but a diving Ivory got a hand on the shot to deflect it wide.
The Cavaliers got on the board in the 12th minute when Taylor Ziemer (Santa Rosa, Calif.) got a foot in on a clearance attempt by the Tar Heels. Ziemer tapped the ball back to Sutton toward the top of the box. The junior midfielder then fired the shot in to the left of the keeper to give Virginia the 1-0 lead.
North Carolina tied the match with a goal in the 24th minute. Andrzejewski took a pass from Dorian Bailey and played it from the top of the box over to Alessia Russo. Russo’s shot from 14 yards out hit off a Virginia defender and in goal for the score that tied the match at 1-1.
The Tar Heels moved in front minutes later as Andrzejewski and Dorian Bailey connected in the 28th minute. The scoring chance started as Bailey tapped the ball ahead to Andrzejewski wide on the near side of the box. Andrzejewski tapped the ball back in to Bailey who knocked the ball up and in by the near post from close range for the 2-1 lead.
At the half, the Tar Heels held a 2-1 lead on the scoreboard and a 5-to-2 edge in shots as UNC had the run of play for the first 45 minutes.
That trend reversed itself in the second half, with the Cavaliers coming out firing from the start and pressuring the Tar Heels offensively in search of the equalizing goal. Despite out-shooting North Carolina 8-to-2 in the second half, Virginia couldn’t find the tying goal as the Tar Heels held on for the win.
The Cavaliers will return to action next week, traveling to face Pittsburgh at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 1).