CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The second-ranked University of North Carolina women’s soccer team officially embarks on its 2023 campaign this week, traveling to face No. 10 Penn State on Thursday in University Park, Pa. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Broadcast on Big Ten Network, the season-opening match between the Tar Heels and Nittany Lions will be the first of seven regular season games televised nationally for UNC.
Who: (2) North Carolina at (10) Penn State
What: 2023 season opener
Where: Jeffrey Field – University Park, Pa.
When: Thursday, Aug. 17 – 7 p.m. ET
Links: Live Stream | Live Stats
Ten Things to Know:
- 2023 marks North Carolina’s 45th season as a program, all under head coach Anson Dorrance.
- The Tar Heels, who have won eight consecutive season openers, are 37-5-2 all-time in their first game of the season.
- This will be the ninth meeting between the Tar Heels and Nittany Lions in program history and first since 2017. UNC leads the all-time series at 6-2.
- The national runner-up a year ago, North Carolina checked in at No. 2 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll.
- After being crowned regular season co-champion in 2022, UNC was picked first in the ACC preseason coaches poll with 10 first-place votes and 166 points.
- Maycee Bell, Sam Meza and Ally Sentnor were all named to the Preseason All-ACC Team, and UNC’s three honorees are the most in the league.
- Meza found herself on the United Soccer Coaches Midfielders to Watch List, while Avery Patterson was selected to the Forwards to Watch list.
- Carolina is returning 25 players, including nine starters. UNC’s nine returners from last year’s starting lineup are the most returners of any team’s Starting XI from the 2022 College Cup.
- The Tar Heels have welcomed seven true freshmen and one graduate transfer to its 2023 roster. UNC’s first-year cohort is the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
- Bell, Talia Dellaperuta, Kai Hayes and Patterson were elected team captains. Bell is a two-time team captain, also serving in the role last year.
North Carolina embarks on arguably the toughest schedule in the country, with 13 of its 18 regular season opponents having played in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels will face nine teams that finished in the top 25 of the final United Soccer Coaches poll last year, including seven in the top 10.
Following its road trip to Penn State, Carolina is set to return to Chapel Hill for its home opener on Sunday, Aug. 20, against California at 1 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase here.
Stay up to date with UNC women’s soccer by following the Tar Heels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.