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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC field hockey defense corners Longwood offense

The UNC field hockey team beats Longwood on Friday afternoon, Oct. 9, with a score of 8-1. Emily Wold (9) defends an opponent.
The UNC field hockey team beats Longwood on Friday afternoon, Oct. 9, with a score of 8-1. Emily Wold (9) defends an opponent.

With 11.91 points per game through 11 matches this season, the Tar Heels rank second in the nation in that category. In the past three games alone, including Friday’s 8-1 win over Longwood, UNC has scored 24 goals.

But behind yet another stellar defensive performance in Friday’s victory over the Lancers, the Tar Heels showed they’re not just a one-dimensional team.

Twenty-three of 30 players played in the blowout victory over the Lancers, but the Tar Heels’ defensive intensity never let up. The UNC defense kept the Longwood offense on its end of the field, barely allowing the Lancers any scoring opportunities.

By the end of the first half, UNC (11-1, 3-1 ACC) held a 7-0 lead over the Lancers and only allowed two shots — both of which came in the last minute of the half. Longwood (4-7, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) ended the game with only nine shots, compared to 29 for UNC.

“I’m really happy with how we played,” said first-year midfielder Eva van’t Hoog. “I felt we really grew a lot because the people who don’t play a lot got a chance and played so well.”

The Tar Heels maintained possession for much of the first half, aided by drawing six penalty corners from Longwood. When the Lancers did manage to get the ball, the UNC defense did a good job of poking it loose to regain possession.

With the game solidly in hand, Coach Karen Shelton decided to give the young second string some playing time. The substitutes scored a goal of their own, but ultimately could not get a shutout as Longwood scored their only goal of the game with just over 16 minutes to go.

“Our goal going out to the second half was to play the best defensive game we could possibly have, and to have a shutout,” said first-year midfielder Ashley Hoffman. “Unfortunately we did not get that goal, but as a team we are really connected on defense, and I am really proud of the team that was out there.”

Shelton singled out the maturity the first-year players showed on the first and second string. But she also said there were a few things the Tar Heels needed to work on over the next few weeks.

“Our corner execution wasn’t quite as sharp tonight, and that’s an area we will spend a lot of time on in practice next week,” she said. “Our leading, our interchanging, our movement off the ball has improved a lot over the season, but it still needs a lot of attention.”

UNC has only allowed 16 goals through 12 games this season. Up until Friday night’s game, UNC had not conceded a goal at home, posting three straight shutouts at Francis E. Henry Stadium.


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