The college soccer season is underway and like they do most years, both of North Carolina’s teams came in with high expectations. After they both made the College Cup final four last year, the women and men came in with the preseason rankings of #3 and #4 respectively according to the United Soccer Coaches top 25 poll.
It’s very early in both team’s seasons, but it’s been a pretty good start for UNC’s soccer teams.
The women have played three games, winning all of them by a combined score of 10-2. Meanwhile, the men opened their season Thursday and crushed Bucknell 7-0 to kick things off.
The women began their season on August 19th, beating Washington 4-1. Ruby Grant and Isabel Cox were the standouts on the box score, with Grant scoring two goals and Cox scoring one goal and assisting Grant’s first. The Heels led from the 10th minute on against a team that was ranked #19 to start the season.
They followed that up with another win over a ranked team, this team an even higher one. Arkansas was #13 when they came to Chapel Hill, but they walked away with a loss after Sam Meza did this to them in extra time:
— UNC Women's Soccer (@uncwomenssoccer) August 22, 2021
On Thursday, they continued their perfect start with a crushing 5-1 win over Illinois in the Heels’ first road game of the season.
They trailed for the first time all season after Illinois scored in the fourth minute, but that ended up being only a minor setback. Emily Murphy answered a minute later, Maycee Bell put the Heels ahead in the 28th minute and it was off to the races from there. Rachael Dorwart and two second half goals from Emily Colton put the game away.
As for the men, they opened their season in utterly dominant fashion against Bucknell. Six different Heels scored goals as Carolina struck early and often in a 7-0 win.
UNC struck in the fifth minute and never looked back. Jonathan Jimenez assisted on the first goal and then scored the proverbial “extra point” with the seventh, while Chris Sullivan scored two. Meanwhile, Carolina’s defense held the Bison to just two shots as they got the year off to a perfect start.
Both have games coming up this weekend with the women taking on Ohio State in Columbus and the men hosting VCU tomorrow.
The Buckeyes’ women come in at 2-1, having lost to current #24 BYU 3-0. They were an NCAA Tournament team last year, winning their opening round game before losing to the Santa Clara team that also knocked out UNC.
VCU won their opening game, taking down another ranked ACC team as the Rams knocked off #7 Wake Forest.
Both teams will also have tough conference slates on the horizon, as four other ACC women’s teams and four others men’s teams are currently ranked.