UNC slips out of Duke’s grasp with scoreless draw

Kip Coons, TSN Correspondent

DURHAM, N.C. – North Carolina women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance was only half-kidding in his postgame assessment Friday night against Duke.

“Our goal in that game was to get a shot off,” he said.

“And we achieved that in the second half, and I could not be prouder.”

Despite Duke’s dominance on the ball, reflected in a whopping 30-6 shot differential, the eighth-ranked Tar Heels came away with a 0-0 double-overtime tie against the seventh-ranked Blue Devils in the Duke Nike Classic at Koskinen Stadium.

Highlights: Duke 0, UNC 0 – (BDN – GoDuke.com)

Video

The game won’t count in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) standings, but the teams chose to play a non-conference game when the league’s unbalanced schedule didn’t match them up during the regular season.

As the fringe effects of Tropical Storm Hermine hammered the field with a steady rain and 20 mph winds, neither team was able to come up with the game-winner.

UNC senior goalkeeper Lindsey Harris was a big factor with a career-high 11 saves.

The result left Dorrance much more upbeat than his Duke counterpart, Robbie Church.

“We knew Duke was going to dominate,” Dorrance said.

“This is a team that went to the national championship game last year. They were absolutely fantastic. Duke deserved to win that game. But with a little bit of grit, a little bit of luck, and with some great goalkeeping and good defending, we ended up with a tie. So we’re claiming the moral victory. Even though in every respect, Duke was better.”

“Soccer can be a cruel game,” Church said.

“You can be in these games, and you can do everything, but you’ve got to do the last component. We didn’t do the last component as well as we’d like to.”

That last component Church referenced would be putting the ball in the goal, and it’s something that has become a nagging problem for the Blue Devils lately.

After scoring 12 goals in its first two matches, Duke has managed only two goals in its last three games.

The last two outings featured 69 shots and two goals.

Duke had the upper hand from the outset, outshooting UNC 13-0 in the first half to mark the first time the Tar Heels were held without a shot for a half since a 2-0 loss to Virginia on Oct. 20, 2013.

The Tar Heels didn’t record a shot under Bridgette Andrzejewski fired high from distance nearly 50 minutes into the match.

“The first half was a clinic, it was an absolute clinic,” Church said.

“One of the best we’ve ever seen here. When you’re playing so well like that, you’ve got to get something out of it. But give their goalkeeper credit. She made some really, really nice saves with it, too.

Harris split time in goal last year with then-senior Bryane Heaberlin but has won the job outright this season.

“Lindsey Harris has had a transformation in the past year,” Dorrance said.

“She’s going after it now. She’s an outstanding goalkeeper, and I would think if any pro team out there was interested, I’ll just send them the Duke tape, because she was absolutely magnificent.”

When Harris didn’t make the save, she got some help from the woodwork.

Kayla McCoy got on the end of a through ball from Toni Payne in the 33rd minute, but her left-footed shot from a severe angle on the left side hit the far post.

The rebound fell to Imani Dorsey, but she fired it over the goal.

Two minutes later Dorsey had a close-range attempt blocked, and Payne’s follow was deflected away by Harris.

Before the half was over, Duke’s Chelsea Burns and Olivia Erlbeck would bounce shots off the crossbar.

Duke put together another big flurry in the first overtime, but Harris made diving saves on shots by Dorsey and Lizzy Raben to keep it scoreless.

In the second overtime Duke’s Ashton Miller had a free kick from 23 yards after a foul and yellow card on UNC defender Hanna Gardner, but her shot was well over the bar.

The match ended with Dorsey trying to cross a ball to Payne at the far post.

UNC defender Cannon Clough ran into Payne and knocked her down, but no foul was called as the final seconds ticked off.

Duke goalkeeper EJ Proctor turned in her second consecutive shutout and had to make only one save all night.

The Tar Heels’ most serious threat came in the 86th minute, when freshman Zoe Redei’s strike from distance hit the crossbar and bounced over.

Next up

UNC will play at noon Sunday against unranked Villanova, a 5-0 loser to Minnesota on Friday.

Duke will face Minnesota at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

April Bockin scored two goals in the first five minutes against ‘Nova for the Golden Gophers (5-0), who are off to their best start since going 6-0 in 2013.

Their No. 9 national ranking is their highest ever.

The game will match Church against one of his former Duke players.

Minnesota third-year coach Stefanie (Kraay) Golan played for Duke from 1997-2001, and her senior year was Church’s first year at Duke.

“In college soccer you’ve got to have a short-term memory,” Church said.

“We’ve got another top-10 team coming Sunday afternoon. Minnesota’s playing really, really well, and we’ve got to be ready for them. “