The No. 5 Virginia women’s soccer team ran its unbeaten streak to nine games with a 2-2 draw with No. 6 North Carolina on Sunday in front of a season-high 1,603 fans at Klöckner Stadium. The Cavaliers go to 8-1-1 overall (1-0-1 ACC) with the result.
Senior forward Caroline Miller scored both Cavalier goals and posted her second consecutive multi-goal game.
“When you look at the game and the chances we had and the ones we gave up, a tie is probably a just result,” said head coach Steve Swanson. “I think later in the year, this result will look pretty good. Right now it doesn’t feel good because it’s not what we wanted, especially after having the lead in the second half. But given the way the game went, I think we can both take a point from this game and look to build on it.”
There were few chances in the first half as the teams combined for just eight shots, four for each side. The Tar Heels took advantage of a late chance to take the lead with 56 remaining before halftime. Ohai stayed just onside as Reilly Parker found her with a through ball and she scored on the ensuing breakaway.
The Cavaliers opened the second half strong and drew even in the 49th minute. Miller received a pass from Erica Hollenberg and got in behind the Tar Heel defense. She gathered the ball at the penalty spot and slotted home her sixth goal of the season.
Miller struck again six minutes later to give Virginia a 2-1 lead. Morgan Brian, playing in her first game of the season after international duty at the U-20 World Cup, sent a ball over the top of the UNC defense. Miller beat the charging keeper to the pass and one-timed a chip past the goalie and in for her seventh goal of the season.
“I felt that we came out of halftime ready to go and maybe caught them in a lull,” said Miller, who cracked the top 10 of Virginia’s career-goal list with her 31st and 32nd tallies. “We opened up some space and I had two great balls played to me. I was happy to be able to bury those chances.”
North Carolina answered in the 73rd minute on Ohai’s second of the day. Ohai, who scored the goal for Swanson’s United States squad in the 1-0 victory over Germany in last week’s U-20 World Cup final, got in behind the Cavalier defense, beat a defender to a loose ball in the box and poked in the goal to bring the Tar Heels level.
The game remained tied at 2-2 after 90 minutes and Virginia headed to overtime for the first time this season. It marked the fifth time in the last seven meetings between the Cavaliers and Tar Heels that went to overtime. Both sides created few chances in extra time and the game resulted in the 2-2 draw.
“We did a great job early in the second half and went up 2-1,” said Swanson. “We were in good position and we just didn’t handle their pressure very well. Give Carolina credit, that is what they do well. We just turned it over too easily at times and that led to their second goal. We knew how good Ohai is, working with her the past year (with the U-20s), and we needed to do a better job of covering her. We can take a lot from this game, learn from it, and improve as we move forward.”
The Cavaliers will be off for a week before returning to action next Sunday as they visit Clemson. Game time at Historic Riggs Field is 1 p.m., and the game will be broadcast online by ESPN3.
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