Redshirt freshman Ally Sentnor and junior Talia Dellaperuta each scored a goal and No. 2 seed North Carolina advanced to its 31st College Cup with a 2-0 win over No. 1 seed Notre Dame at Alumni Field on Saturday.
The Tar Heels will face the tournament’s top overall seed Florida State in the national semifinals Friday, Dec. 2, at Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
This will be the third meeting of season between North Carolina and Florida State, with Carolina winning 2-1 in Tallahassee, Florida, before the Seminoles posted a 2-1 victory in the ACC Championship game in Cary.
“The team that plays the closest to the way we play is Notre Dame,” Carolina head coach Anson Dorrance said. “We knew we were going to have to work extremely hard to try to match them and we were able to do so in a very positive way.
“That was a lockdown defense against one of nation’s best scoring teams. Our kids continue to improve and they’re sacrificing their own ambitions for a team result. We didn’t rotate the playing time as we normally do and the whole team was in with both feet.”
Although it didn’t face Notre Dame during ACC play in the regular season, Carolina (19-4-1) entered the match having won five straight in the series.
“It didn’t really matter who was the one seed or who was the two seed,” Sentnor said. “It mattered who played the better game today.”
Carolina went up 1-0 on Sentnor’s goal in the 22nd minute. Senior Libby Moore took a shot from outside the penalty box and the ball hit the crossbar, soaring into the air, and Sentnor heading it past Irish goalkeeper MacKenzie Wood. It was Sentnor’s 10th goal of the year and fifth of the NCAA Tournament.
“Libby took an excellent shot,” Sentnor explained. “She beat a player, drilled it off the crossbar and I was there to get the rebound and head it in.”
The Tar Heels added a second goal in the 47th minute. Dellaperuta’s first strike was blocked but it caromed right back to her, and her second right-footed blast screeched into the top left corner. It was third consecutive game scoring a goal.
UNC goalkeeper Emmie Allenfinished with a career-high six saves in her seventh solo shutout of the year.
Six Tar Heels competed for the full 90 minutes, including Emerson Elgin, Libby Moore and Avery Patterson, who played every minute for the first time this season.
“We play a high pressing game and today we decided to play every player almost 90 minutes and it was a big risk,” Dorrance said. “It put us in a position to be up 2-0, but by the end of the game we were exhausted.”