Because of its preset brackets, the Carolina Nike Classic doesn’t crown a champion in the season-opening women’s soccer tournament.
Anson Dorrance, coach of host North Carolina, was having none of that. After Duke recorded its second shutout of the weekend Sunday, a 4-0 whitewashing of Fresno State, Dorrance challenged his players to come up with a score that would top the Blue Devils’ nine-goal weekend total.
The seventh-ranked Tar Heels put an exclamation mark on the afternoon, jumping on Weber State from the outset and coasting to a 7-0 rout for their second shutout of the tournament. More to the point, UNC logged a 10-0 aggregate to Duke’s 9-0 and claimed area bragging rights.
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“Obviously the rivalry with Duke has to be neverending,” Dorrance said.
The two ACC soccer powers found different routes into the scoring column. UNC (2-0) looked to its large cast of veterans, while Duke (2-0) relied on its two highly touted freshman forwards, Kayla McCoy and Taylor Racioppi.
UNC senior forward Summer Green got the Tar Heels off to a fast start with two goals by the game’s 7:14 mark.
Dorrance noted that Green has already matched her goal-scoring total of last year, when compartment syndrome in her ankles limited her effectiveness.
“So Summer’s off to a great start,” he said. So are the Tar Heels, whose seven goals were their most since a 9-2 win over Illinois in the second round of the 2012 NCAA tournament, when they won their 21st NCAA title.
Sixth-year senior Alexa Newfield, who sat out last year with an ACL injury, scored her third goal of the weekend, and UNC’s top reserves produced four goals to underscore Dorrance’s faith in his team’s depth.
“This is the absolute deepest team in the history of the University of North Carolina,” said Dorrance, who has been coach of the Tar Heels for all 37 of their seasons.
Annie Kingman also had two goals, including a penalty kick, while Alex Kimball got her second and Emily Bruder her first of the season.
Duke, meanwhile, was paced by its youth. Racioppi and McCoy were rated the No. 2 and 3 recruits in the nation, giving Duke the No. 2 recruiting class overall. So far they have lived up to their reputations, becoming the sixth and seventh players in program history with goals in each of their first two games.
McCoy netted two for Duke after Racioppi opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a strike from 20 yards. Each of the freshmen already has three goals.
“They are just very, very talented players and also players with very strong character,” Duke coach Robbie Church said.