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The Daily Tar Heel

Field hockey beats Wake Forest to advance to the final four


After defeating No. 14 Delaware 6-2 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, the North Carolina field hockey team appeared to get over the hump that led the the Tar Heels to lose three of its previous five games, including the ACC championship.

But in the team’s second round matchup with No. 13 Wake Forest, an early goal from the Demon Deacons grounded the Tar Heels.

Coach Karen Shelton called her team to do one thing — remain focused and fight — in what could have been their last game of the season.

And the Tar Heels answered, utilizing an unselfish style of play to defeat Wake Forest 5-2 and advance to the Final Four.

“I wanted to see fight and I saw fight,” Shelton said.

The Demon Deacons took the lead two minutes into the game, but sophomore Nina Notman said that she knew her team would respond.

“I looked around and was looking for people who had their heads down because that’s something you do not want to see.” Notman said, “But I didn’t find anyone, so I think we believed in each other and knew that we had plenty of time to change the game, and we did.”

About six minutes later, Notman scored her first goal of the game on a penalty corner with a drag flick that soared past the goalie’s outstretched hand. Notman scored her second goal on a penalty corner after the Demon Deacon goalkeeper blocked the initial shot and she was the first to get to the ball.

The three remaining Tar Heel goals were scored in the second half in the unselfish manner that Shelton said she admires her team for.

Sophomore Casey Di Nardo scored her 14th goal of the season off of a give-and-go play inside the circle. She said that the team has been practicing their passing recently and wanted to incorporate it into their scoring throughout the tournament.

“That was one of our main goals this weekend, to be unselfish.” Di Nardo said. “It’s not about who scores, it’s about scoring as a team and moving on and advancing.”

Di Nardo said that the losses heading into the tournament encouraged the team to work together to put themselves in a position to fight for the national championship.

“Those three games really fired us up, we don’t like losing.” Di Nardo said. “I think we really wanted to come out hot and make a statement that we are a team to contend with, and the teams in the final four are going to have to watch out for us.”

Shelton said that she thinks her team is ready for the semifinals, but they have to be ready to play every minute of every game.

“Going forward, you have to play every minute of every game.” Shelton said. “It’s 70 minutes and you have to stay incredibly focused.”

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