In the first home game of the season, the No. 3 North Carolina field hockey team defeated No. 9 Wake Forest 4-1 on Saturday.
North Carolina (4-1) and Wake Forest (3-2) started off the game with strong defense, as neither team scored in the first 15 minutes. But redshirt first-year midfielder Catherine Hayden broke past the Demon Deacons to score her first career goal on a rebound from fifth-year senior Emma Bozek’s shot. Senior forward Lauren Moyer added another goal less than 10 minutes later to extend UNC's lead to 2-0, but a wrap-around shot by Wake Forest’s first-year forward Nicola Pluta cut the lead in half shortly before halftime.
The Tar Heels began to take control of the game in the second half, when Bozek scored the Tar Heels’ third goal of the day off a penalty stroke. Sam Night’s goal with 18 minutes to go put the game out of reach for the Demon Deacons, enabling the Tar Heels to earn their fourth consecutive win of the season.
Who stood out?
Bozek’s goal in the second half was her first goal since UNC's loss to Syracuse in the semi-finals of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Bozek was forced to sit out the entire 2015 season due to a sequestered lung, and served as an undergraduate assistant coach during her redshirt year. Bozek admitted that she was nervous during the events leading up to her goal, but was proud of her performance and happy to be back on the field.
While Bozek was a leader on offense, sophomore Ashley Hoffman and senior Julia Young were spearheaded the defensive effort. Hoffman made two crucial interceptions, while Young came up with several key stops that kept Wake Forest out of North Carolina territory and limited the Demon Deacons to just five shots.