UNC women's soccer, as we went over earlier, is coming off one of their worst seasons in the program's history. Which is not horrible by any means; the team went .... and lost early in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Still, there was some concern and the team didn't do too much too alleviate it by dropping their season opener earlier this week to Portland by a score of 1-0.
That being said, this is no reason to panic, despite some of the post-game headlines trending in that direction. UNC is playing without a couple of starters, forwards Kealia Ohai and Crystal Dunn, who are still traveling with the national U20 team as are freshmen Bryane Heaberlin and Katie Bowen. They were also bit by injuries, losing both senior defender Megan Brigman and sophomore defender Brooke Elby during the game; Brigman will be out at least four weeks with a fractured leg while Elby merely suffered an ankle sprain.
The good news is tonight's opponent in the home opener, Florida, is similarly suffering. They were upset 4-1 by Miami, are just hanging on in one of the national polls, and have to face top-ranked Duke on Sunday, while UNC faces the University of Montreal. This looks to be a perfect game for the Heels to regain their stride; they'll follow this weekend's home classic with two more the following two weekends, at Notre Dame and Durham, before ACC play begins and the national players return to the fold. The season looks to be a bit tougher, especially without Brigman to anchor the defense, but their getting a lot of good play from the youngsters on the team. After all, they held Portland to just seven shots and gave up their only goal in the first five minutes of the season. They can definitely handle the next couple of weeks.
The UNC-Florida game kicks off at seven on ESPN3.