CHARLESTON, S.C. - An early second half goal was the difference on Sunday afternoon, as the No. 1 seed Duke Blue Devils (19-2-0) fell to the No. 2 seed North Carolina Tar Heels (15-2-2), 1-0, in the ACC Tournament title match at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, S.C.
“Congratulations to North Carolina, I thought that was well deserved,” head coach Robbie Church said. “We had our moments, but we just didn’t play very well. You have to play a full 90 minutes and we didn’t today. But this is what the value of the ACC Tournament is, because we have the chance to go back and correct things. This is a tough loss, but now we just have to get home, get some rest and start preparing for the NCAA Tournament.”
The Tar Heels came out of the gate as the aggressors, putting up a pair of shots in the first four minutes, including a header that resulted in one of EJ Proctor’s four saves on the day. Duke was able to reel off five shots in the first 45, with two from both Taylor Racioppi and Imani Dorsey, but were unable to land any on target. Both sides struggled to maintain possession in the waning minutes of the opening half, sending the match into intermission scoreless.
Much like Duke did against Virginia on Friday, UNC jumped out in front with an early goal in the second half. With just 47 seconds having rolled off the clock, Zoe Redei collected a rebound from a blocked attempt and went top shelf for the score to give the Tar Heels a 1-0 advantage.
Duke turned up the pressure for the remainder of the contest, looking to equalize. Several attempts from the Blue Devils just missed being on goal, while a shot from Ella Stevens forced a jumping save from UNC. The Blue Devils’ final effort came on the foot of freshman Karlie Paschall, who took aim at goal, but was denied by the second UNC save of the match. Duke earned a trio of free kicks in the waning minutes, but could not capitalize, sealing the Tar Heels’ 1-0 victory.
The loss brings Duke’s program-record 19-match winning streak to an end. The streak began with a 3-1 win against Xavier on Aug. 20 and included 13 shutouts, six ranked wins and tapped out tied for the 12th longest winning streak in Duke athletics history.
Duke will now await to hear what its road to the College Cup will be during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Monday, Nov. 6 at 4:30 p.m. The show will be live streamed on NCAA.com.
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