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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC field hockey wins 19th ACC title

Scoring celebration at Carolina Victory on Sunday Nov. 1
Scoring celebration at Carolina Victory on Sunday Nov. 1

But in Sunday’s ACC title game, the Tar Heels got their rematch.

With scoring at a premium, it was No. 3 UNC’s goalkeeping that proved to be the difference in an exhilarating 2-1 overtime victory over the No. 1 Orange.

It was not until the 19th minute that Casey Di Nardo broke through for the Tar Heels. The senior found the back of the cage on a shot from the top of the circle to put UNC up 1-0.

The Tar Heels relinquished the lead early in the second period. An Orange penalty stroke in the 44th minute knotted the match at 1.

With 20 seconds remaining, Syracuse was awarded a penalty corner. A penalty stroke was called, leading Coach Karen Shelton to ask for a video review. Following a tense two-minute stretch of waiting, the call was overturned. Syracuse and North Carolina were again headed to overtime.

Syracuse earned a penalty stroke with fewer than eight minutes remaining in overtime, leaving the fate of the ACC title in All-Tournament keeper Shannon Johnson’s hands. Johnson spectacularly dove to her left to reject the would-be game winner, launching the game-deciding Tar Heel counterattack.

UNC reached the Orange’s circle following a series of crisp passes, eventually escorting the ball to sophomore Gab Major, who was then able to knock in the deciding goal to clinch a 2-1 UNC victory.


“Honestly, I didn’t think about the game being on the line. I just saw the ball and the stick; I knew I just had to see the shot and react. We played great — we played our hearts out today.” — Johnson on her penalty stroke save.


The win marked UNC’s 19th ACC title. The Tar Heels have more ACC Championships than all other ACC programs combined.

3 numbers that matter

4: Four Tar Heels were named to the All-Tournament team, with Emily Wold winning tournament MVP.

8: Johnson had eight saves in the title game, her highest total in any game this season.

5: Major’s overtime goal was her team-leading fifth game-winning goal on the year.

What’s next?

The Tar Heels will find out their NCAA Tournament fate when the selection show airs tonight at 10 p.m.


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