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No. 2 women’s soccer remain undefeated in ACC play with a draw against No. 5 North Carolina

The Cavalier offense has its first scoreless game of the season, but the defense records its eighth shutout of the season.

<p>Senior defender Claire Constant and the Cavalier defense were able to withstand a strong North Carolina attack and shut out the Tar Heels.</p>

Senior defender Claire Constant and the Cavalier defense were able to withstand a strong North Carolina attack and shut out the Tar Heels.

No. 2 Virginia faced No. 5 North Carolina Sunday in a highly anticipated, top-10 match up. The Cavaliers (10-1-1, 3-0-1 ACC) had the higher ranking going into the match, while the Tar Heels (8-1-2, 1-1-2 ACC) had a home field advantage and a hefty 39-4-4 lead in the series between the rival teams. Ultimately, after two scoreless halves and two scoreless overtime periods, the match ended just the way it started — with a score of 0-0.

North Carolina outplayed Virginia offensively in the first half, with 11 shots forcing fifth-year goalkeeper Laurel Ivory to make three critical saves to keep the game scoreless. Two of the three saves required Ivory to be fully outstretched, just barely punching the ball out from going into the back of the net. 

In the second half, Virginia responded and grew into the game, doing much better in terms of possession and creating offensive opportunities. The Cavaliers looked much more creative and energized and managed to tally seven shots on the tough Tar Heel defense. The possession also helped to reduce the North Carolina offense, as its shots in the second half went down to just five. 

No team provided any sort of great threat in the overtime periods. Virginia’s best look came in the 104th minute after junior forward Diana Ordoñez fired a left-footed shot from distance that was easily saved by North Carolina senior goalkeeper Claudia Dickey. 

“I thought we played well at times today, but not consistently enough to get a win against a team the caliber of UNC,” Coach Steve Swanson said. “Our effort was good, but we just have to improve our quality in all phases of the game.”

While a scoreless draw is never a satisfying result — especially after 120 minutes of hard play — this result should be seen as a positive in Virginia’s books for several reasons. First, the Cavaliers maintained their No. 2 ranking, which is highly impressive given the tough schedule they’ve played. Additionally, the Cavaliers remain undefeated in ACC play, which is huge considering there are four ACC teams in the NCAA top-10 rankings. This game is also a positive for Ivory and the Virginia defense, as it marks the eighth shutout of the season in 12 games played and is the 39th shutout of Ivory’s career. Finally, this tie breaks Virginia’s four-year losing streak against North Carolina. So while it wasn’t a win, this result does build Virginia’s confidence against a tough team that it plays frequently.

Next up for the Cavaliers is an away ACC match against Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. This game is set to be played Thursday at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ACCNX.