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No. 18 Huskies Fall in Season Opener to No. 3 UNC

Aug 19, 2021

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Washington women's soccer team could not hold off the relentless attack of the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday evening, falling by a score of 3-1 in the season opener. 

Flying across the country to open the season against a top-five team offered plenty of challenges, but UW was able to bounce back quickly from an early two-goal deficit. 

In the 11th minute, the Tar Heels found a pocket of free space in the right side of the box and Emily Murphy tapped in a cross from Rachel Jones. Later in the half, UNC was able to once again find free space in the Huskies' defensive zone, as Isabel Cox found Ruby Grant with plenty of space to put in the second goal for the Tar Heels. 

UW would have an answer, however, as the Huskies continued to press the ball forward. In the 44th minute, they were rewarded with a free kick in the UNC defensive half. Kala McDaniel lifted in a deep service that took a deflection off of a header and landed towards an unmarked Jessika Cowart. Despite not playing in the Spring season, Cowart was ready for the moment and rocketed in a one-time volley to put UW on the scoreboard and make it a 2-1 game at halftime. 

The Tar Heels would seize control of the match in the second half, however, as they dominated the possession. Their relentless pressure paid off in the 61st minute, as Isabel Cox found herself one-on-one with the goalkeeper and was able to put home a third goal for UNC. Ruby Grant added her second goal of the match on a penalty kick in the 75th minute. Husky goalkeeper Olivia Sekany guessed correctly and made a valiant effort, but the ball snuck past her in the bottom left corner to make it 4-1.

Transfer forward McKenzie Weinert earned the start for her first action as a Husky, while Kyle Ferry entered in as a substitute for her first action in a UW uniform. 

Washington is back in action on Sunday morning, as the Huskies will take on No. 6 Duke at 9:00 a.m. on ACCNX.