After being named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday, Ashley Hoffman continued to prove her worth Thursday.
The All-ACC first team selection led her team in more ways than one in the No. 6 North Carolina (14-4, 3-3 ACC) field hockey team's 3-2 ACC tournament quarterfinal win over No. 13 Wake Forest (12-7, 3-3 ACC).
Hoffman’s performance showcased the fact that she is one of the best players in the country. Offensively, the junior from Mohnton, Pa., was the spark plug that helped the Tar Heels storm out of the gate in the first half. She scored her team-leading 10th goal in the opening minutes of the game, gaining the momentum in UNC's favor early.
Her leadership on the young backline kept UNC’s defense composed in crucial moments, forcing Wake Forest players to either commit a turnover or take ill-advised shot attempts. Her presence as the anchor for the defense this season has been crucial to the Tar Heels’ success, and it will continue to be through postseason pay.
The Tar Heels lost their momentum for a short while, though. Wake Forest forward Anne van Hoof finished off the equalizing goal after a penalty corner in the 35th minute.