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UNC Soccer: Men's and Women's teams finish regular season in the Top 5

Both UNC soccer teams finished second in the ACC standings and are favorites to return to the Final Four

NCAA Soccer: Men's College Cup-North Carolina vs Stanford Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The first part of UNC Soccer's Road to Redemption has come to an end, as both the Men's and Women's teams wrapped up their regular seasons last week. Both teams are ranked in the Top 5 nationally, both finished second in the ACC, and both have shown the form to not only return to the Final Four, but to finish the job this time around. Here is how things stand for both Tar Heel squads:


The Tar Heels are currently ranked #3 in the country, and wrapped up their regular season with a dominant victory over #16 Notre Dame on Senior Night in Cary. Goals from sophomores Jelani Pieters, Jack Skahan, and senior Alan Winn gave the Tar Heels a breezy 3-0 win over the Irish. For Winn, it was a fitting end to his regular season career. He leads the Tar Heels with nine goals on the year.

The Tar Heels wrapped up the Coastal Division easily, with their only conference loss coming at the hands of #1 Wake Forest. The Tar Heels will be the 2-seed in the ACC Tournament, behind only the Demon Deacons. They will face the winner of the Notre Dame-Pitt play-in game. The Quarterfinal matchup will take place on November 5th.

Besides Winn, the Tar Heels have been led by all-World sophomore midfielder Cam Lindley. Lindley started the season as one of the most hyped players in the country and has lived up to the hype, tallying seven goals and 11 assists. Jelani Pieters has been a dynamic force up front, with seven goals and seven assists on the year and Zach Wright has been a steady force in midfield as well.

The Tar Heels have also gotten some big time play from their freshmen as well. Giovanni Montesdeoca and Lucas del Rosario have scored four goals apiece and goalkeeper Alec Smir has had some big time moments in goal. Amir's play has solidified his spot as the Tar Heels' Number One after an early-season duel for the starting job.

UNC will look to recapture the ACC crown and ride the momentum into the NCAA Tournament. They have shown fantastic form throughout the season, particularly on the offensive end, and are primed and ready for a postseason to remember.


Anson Dorrance's side finishes the regular season ranked #4 in the nation with a record of 12-2-2. The Tar Heels had their 8-game win streak snapped last week as the Tar Heels tied their last two games at home against Louisville and Notre Dame. That slip-up cost them a shot at the ACC regular season crown, as the red-hot Duke Blue Devils (winners of 17 straight) completed a perfect 10-0-0 record to take it. The Heels finished at 8-0-2.

In fact, the Tar Heels were incredibly fortunate to escape on Senior Night with a draw. They equalized in the 90th minute, when Jessie Scarpa sprinted to the corner flag in the dying seconds to send in a corner kick, which Bridgette Andrzejewski headed in to send the game into overtime and spare the Heels a crushing season finale defeat.

UNC will open the ACC Tournament in the quarterfinal matchup against four-time defending conference champions Florida State this Sunday at 1 pm.

Carolina has benefitted all year from its team depth, with Anson Dorrance substituting at a tremendous rate compared to opposing teams. An example of this is that Dorian Bailey, who leads the Tar Heels in points with six goals and eight assists, has only started in 2 of her 15 games.

Along with Bailey, standout players have been sophomore striker Bridgette Andrzejewski, who shook off her early season goal drought to finish with six goals and six assists, Alessia Russo the high scoring English freshman, and Joanna Boyles, the Tar Heel's dead ball specialist.

Unlike the Men's side, there has been no question about the Women's goalkeeping and defense. Samantha Leshnak has started every game and has recorded 9 shutouts on the year. Carolina has allowed just nine goals in 16 games.

The Tar Heels will look to shake off their late season struggles in the postseason. The team's offense, which has sputtered at times, produced only one goal in their last two home matches. Adding to that frustration is the knowledge that Duke, a team Carolina beat in their season opener, hasn't lost since and is now ranked ahead of them, has won the ACC regular season, and is being discussed as the odds-on favorite to win the National Championship. Rest assured, the Tar Heels are as motivated as anyone to make noise in the postseason and bring yet another title home to Chapel Hill.