The first weekly ranking in NCAA women’s soccer is out, and North Carolina is in a familiar place. The 21-time national champions started this season 2-0 with a thumping 4-1 victory over Wake Forest and a 1-0 win over Virginia Tech.
The ACC claimed four of the top ten spots, and the top three overall. UNC will play No. 3 Clemson on 1 October in Chapel Hill, but would not play No. 2 Florida State until the ACC Tournament in Cary, NC.
It was imperative that the Tar Heels get off to a good start, as they are playing a truncated, ACC-only schedule. As it stands, UNC will only play ten regular season games. Duke is the only team that will be faced twice, the first match-up coming up this Sunday in Durham.
Carolina took Wake Forest apart on the back of a torrid performance by Rachel Jones. The junior forward scored twice (once from the spot after she was tackled by Wake Forest freshman Breckyn Monteith) and assisted Brianna Pinto for the opening goal.
UNC was unlucky to only win by a single goal against Virginia Tech. The Heels watched in dismay as two goals were disallowed when the offside flag went up. Midfielder Briana Pinto had the opening goal overturned, but eventually got on the score sheet to decide the game.
As a side note, I have to say that Dorrance Field, built over the old Fetzer Field, looks beautiful on television. The permanent Carolina blue seats are such an improvement over the old metal bleachers. Players need to be mindful about running full bore at the locker room end, though, as there’s not a lot of room behind the net until you smash into a brick wall.