UNC field hockey tops Louisville in first home match of 2015
Playing in front of its home crowd for the first time this season, the No. 3 North Carolina field hockey team shut out the No. 9 Louisville Cardinals 5-0 on Friday.
After spending the first three weekends of the regular season on the road, the Tar Heels were looking to improve their 6-1 record. The Cardinals, who had an identical record, were hopeful for the same.
But it was a slow start.
The first 25 minutes of Friday’s match were spent with the Cardinals and Tar Heels locked in a scoreless tie, with neither team scoring despite plenty of opportunities on both ends of the field. North Carolina missed two penalty corners at the beginning of the game that could have given it the lead.
But in the 26th minute, UNC broke through.
Junior back Julia Young crossed the ball to senior forward Casey Di Nardo, who buried it in the back of the net under the outstretched arms of the Louisville goalkeeper.
And the crowd responded. With chants of “Go Heels” for every penalty corner and cheers on every offensive play, the home crowd welcomed the Tar Heels into the 2015 season.
Within the next nine minutes, the Tar Heels gave their home crowd more to cheer about, knocking in two more goals. With the Cardinals unable to capitalize on their four shots taken, North Carolina carried a 3-0 lead into halftime.
UNC came out strong in the second half with fast offensive attacks and a formidable defense that only allowed four more shots.
Senior Emily Wold made an impressive defensive save for the Tar Heels late in the second half, knocking the ball off the goal line and maintaining UNC's clean sheet.
Midfielder Nina Notman, also a senior, led the offensive effort with two goals in the second half, putting North Carolina up 5-0.
Despite a couple of last-minute attempts by the Cardinals (5-2, 0-2 ACC), the Tar Heels (6-1, 1-1 ACC) proved unshakeable and earned their second shutout of the season, much to the excitement of their fans.
“I was really pleased with the crowd, considering the soccer game and the volleyball game and the football game— there are a lot of distractions on campus. I thought we had a tremendous support from our home crowd.” — Coach Karen Shelton on playing at home for the first time this season.
All three seniors scored in North Carolina’s victory on Friday night, with Nina Notman scoring two goals.
Three numbers that matter
15: Shots tallied Tar Heels during Friday's game. Louisville recorded eight shots.
23: Goals scored by UNC so far this season.
8: Total penalty corners taken during Friday's game. The Tar Heels had five compared to the Cardinals' three.
North Carolina hosts Miami (Ohio) at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
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