On a rainy Saturday night in Knoxville, Tennessee suffered a 7-0 beat down at the hands of No. 2 North Carolina.
The Volunteers came out of the gate strong as they dominated the possession and chances for the first 12 minutes of the match. Then North Carolina earned a corner kick and the momentum began to shift.
“They’re just a good team and you know they’re going to get going at some point,” Tennessee coach Brian Pensky said.
After Tennessee’s dominant start, possession started to lean in favor of the Tar Heels but Lindsey Romig and the Tennessee defense were able to fend off some chances and keep the score level at 0-0 until the 25th minute.
The Tarheels broke through off a long corner that reversed back out to the top of the 18 yard box. UNC passed the ball into the penalty area where England Native Ruby Grant boxed out the Tennessee defender and scored. Just three minutes later North Carolina was able to double their lead on another attack deep into the Tennessee defensive corner. Briana Pinto was on the end of the centering pass and put it past Romig to make it 2-0 in favor of the Tar Heels.
After the second goal Tennessee was able to settle down and level possession slightly. They created multiple scoring chances but were unable to capitalize.
In the 35th minute Tennessee was caught by a counter attack from Grant again. The freshman Tar Heel midfielder was able to make one defender miss to put herself one on one with Romig and she buried the shot in the bottom right corner to give North Carolina a 3-0 lead 10 minutes before halftime.
The Volunteers continued to show fight and earned multiple chances and corners in the final ten minutes of the half but again were unable to capitalize despite out shooting the Tar Heels 6-5 in the first half.
“We tried to inspire our girls at halftime and let them know we were outshooting them six to five and we’re out cornering them five to three,” Pensky said.
The second half opened up and it was a much more competitive contest. Possession was back and forth with attacking opportunities about equal. Tennessee was able to win more 50/50 balls in the second half helping their cause to keep more possession.
The best chance of the day for the Volunteers came off the foot of Isabella Cook in the 57th minute when she took a shot from just outside the penalty area that just barely missed the bottom left corner of the net.
North Carolina was able to extend its lead in the 76th on an attack down the left side of the pitch. Rachel Jones carried the ball deep into the Tennessee corner and played a ball across the penalty area that Roming was unable to cut off. The pass found Isabel Cox at the back post who banged the ball off the post and in to make it 4-0.
Briana Pinto doubled her tally on the day when she found herself in the penalty area when she beat two defenders and scored to make it 5-0.
Just two minutes later Ruby Grant scored her third goal of the day in the 87th minute.
North Carolina was able to get one more goal before time expired to earn the final score of 7-0.
“It’s not indicative of how we played and I really feel bad for our girls that they have this scoreline on their resume,” Pensky said.
Tennessee will be back in action against ACC foe, Louisville on April 10 in Louisville, Kentucky.