It was a tough one to swallow for the Washington women’s soccer team. After dominating the better part of its round of 16 matchup against No. 2 North Carolina, the UW fell victim to a single lapse in defensive solidity.
The Huskies (10-4-4) lost the match 1-0, but were arguably the better side throughout the 90 minutes, outshooting the Tar Heels 13-7. Only two of Tar Heel’s shots tested the frame of the goal.
After five consecutive matches without conceding, the Husky defense was finally breached. In the 67th minute, the ball found its way past redshirt junior goalkeeper Olivia Sekany’s hands and was headed in by UNC sophomore Tori Hansen.
The remainder of the match was a dogfight. As time ticked on, the Huskies desperately tried to pry a goal from the hands of the Tar Heel defense, but just couldn't find a way.
Perhaps the best chance of the day for Washington came in the 81st minute, as junior midfielder Summer Yates found herself space inside the 18. Yates’s shot was plenty powerful, but lacked precision and found itself in the arms of the UNC goalkeeper, snuffing out the chances of a UW comeback.
Despite the loss, Husky fans should be plenty optimistic going forward. Many of the seniors on the squad have been given the opportunity to return to the program in the fall and exercise another season of eligibility by the NCAA.
Head coach Nicole Van Dyke’s first year in charge has been everything Washington could have hoped for. Leading the team on a strong postseason run, and garnering a 10+ win record and the greatest defensive record the program has seen in a season full of doubts and oddities.
Van Dyke has laid the groundwork for the program to continue the success of this season, and perhaps even improve going forward, as Washington looks towards next fall.
Reach writer Rajan Hans at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @RajanHans14
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