To get the story of Miami’s game against No. 5 North Carolina on Sunday afternoon, all one had to do was look at the field when it was over.
That is where UNC’s Crystal Dunn was being mobbed by fans for pictures and autographs.
The senior midfielder recorded the first hat trick of her illustrious career, leading the Tar Heels to a 4-0 victory over Miami at Cobb Stadium.
“She’s so fast, she’s so agile, she’s so athletic,” Miami coach Mary-Frances Monroe said, trying to explain why Dunn is so difficult to contain. “She understands the game so well, her movement off the ball, on the ball – she’s so dynamic.”
Dunn, the 2012 recipient of the Hermann Trophy as the best player in the nation, opened up the scoring in the 30th minute. She placed the ball in the right side of the net past diving UM goalkeeper Emily Lillard from the top of the box.
That was North Carolina’s lone score in the first half, despite dominating possession and holding Miami (6-3, 1-3 ACC) without a shot on goal.
In the 64th minute, Dunn scored from 20 yards out, sending a perfect strike into the upper right corner. Sophomore midfielder Katie Bowen was credited with the assist.
Just seven minutes later, Dunn completed her hat trick from 15 yards away. Paige Nielsen and Satara Murray were both credited with assists.
“That’s why she’s on the national team. That’s why she’s the best college player in the country, because she gets it done,” Monroe said after Dunn singlehandedly kept the Canes out of contention. “I think we did a good job of frustrating her. Tara Schwitter did an awesome job marking her and she got a little bit frustrated, but a player like that, you give her a little inch, she’ll score a goal.”
The Hurricanes, by comparison, managed one shot on goal the entire game.
Miami had its two best scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of the second half on a pair of corner kicks. On the first, sophomore Jasmine Paterson’s header went wide and on the second, Carolina goalkeeper Anna Sieloff saved junior Erin McGovern’s header.
Summer Green added the final goal for UNC (8-2, 2-2 ACC) on a penalty kick in the 86th minute.
Although the scoreboard showed a lopsided affair, Monroe took away some positives.
“I’m really proud of our team,” she said. “Obviously Carolina is the top team in my eyes in the country. We had a game plan … and I’m really proud of our team because they stuck to the plan, they bought in, they were confident, they were ready to play.”
Miami next plays third-ranked Florida State on Thursday at 7 p.m. FSU is undefeated this season, but the Canes upset the Seminoles last year when they were No. 1 in the nation.