The North Carolina field hockey players know that the first five minutes of a game are critical for setting the pace and securing a win.
So it came as no surprise when the Tar Heels scored their first goal just two minutes into the game, with junior forward Elizabeth Stephens leading the charge.
The goal was Stephens’ third this season, and it would give the No. 2 Tar Heels the momentum they needed to take control of Saturday’s match against No. 9 Wake Forest to claim a 5-1 victory.
“Getting on a team fast like that, they get shocked, and it gives us momentum to keep going and keep scoring,” sophomore Kelsey Kolojejchick said.
The early scoring helped secure the team’s win, as the team’s offense slowed down at the end of each half.
North Carolina improved its record to 11-0 overall and 2-0 in the ACC, while the Demon Deacons fell to 6-5 overall and 1-2 in the conference. In the two meetings between the teams this season, UNC has outscored Wake Forest 10-1.
A second North Carolina goal came just seven minutes later with an unassisted goal from sophomore forward Katie Ardrey. The goal was Ardrey’s second of the season.
Twenty minutes later, the Tar Heels tallied a third goal, which was sophomore Caitlin Van Sickle’s eighth of the season. She snatched a rebound from a shot by senior Elizabeth Drazdowski.
A strong North Carolina counterattack overpowered Wake Forest’s offense, forcing the ball back into the Tar Heels’ possession again and again.