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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC field hockey defeats Eagles, advances to ACC championship match

Following Thursday’s 2-1 victory against Louisville, the No. 3 North Carolina field hockey team had less than 21 hours to gear up for Friday’s ACC Championship semifinal match against No. 11 Boston College.

But the quick turnaround did not faze the third-seeded Tar Heels, who grinded out a tough 3-2 victory over the seventh-seeded Eagles on Friday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

UNC opened up the scoring in the 13th minute when forward Austyn Cuneo slid a beautiful pass toward the front of the goal, where Sam Night pushed the ball into the back of the cage.

It took Tar Heels less than two minutes to strike again. Midfielder Nina Notman scored off a penalty corner to give North Carolina a 2-0 advantage. But that lead did not last long.

Boston College scored with about 15 minutes left in the first half to cut the Tar Heels' lead to 2-1. That score would carry into halftime.

The Eagles' offense continued to attack the North Carolina defense throughout the rest of the game, but Boston College only found the back of cage once more —  tying the game at 2 in the 45th minute of play.

Tensions rose as the Eagles' attack worked deep into the Tar Heels' defense, causing Coach Karen Shelton to take a timeout with 11:06 remaining.

The timeout proved to be vital, as Gab Major was able to notch the go-ahead goal on an assist from Malin Evert in the 62nd minute. But Boston College did not go down without a fight.

With about two minutes left, the Eagles pulled their goalie in an attempt to get more attackers on the field, creating a stressful final stretch of play.

But the Tar Heel defense was able to hold on, giving UNC the 3-2 victory.

Quotable 

"It was definitely a fast-paced game, and that moment moved pretty quick as well. Malin slid (the ball) across, and it worked out pretty well" — Major on her game-winning goal.

Notable 

UNC returns to the ACC Championship after falling to Syracuse in the semifinals a season ago. The Tar Heels will take Saturday off before competing in Sunday's championship game.

Three numbers that matter

22: UNC will be playing in the ACC championship match for the 22nd time in program history. This is the event's 33rd year.

4: Different Tar Heels have accounted for UNC's five goals in the ACC Championship.

16: Major's goal was her 16th of the season, which leads the team.

What's next?

The Tar Heels play No. 1 Syracuse in the ACC title match at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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