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.