Kristy Bernatchez was born and raised in Maine, so Sunday’s game against the Black Bears was a sort of homecoming for her.
After the team suffered a 2-1 loss to Boston College (4-3, 1-1 ACC) on Friday, Bernatchez turned her attention to the matchup against Maine (6-2) on Sunday.
Not only did she want to help her team get back to .500 in ACC play, but Bernatchez had a crowd to please — as the senior back competed in her home state for the first and likely final time of her collegiate career.
With a quick goal in the eighth minute, the Tar Heels (6-2, 1-1 ACC) started strong and eventually toppled the Black Bears in a 3-1 victory.
Bernatchez, for her part, had a solid performance, and her fans did not disappoint.
Bernatchez was featured in her hometown newspaper, the Bangor Daily News, and was informed there would be an outpouring of support from her community.
“I don’t think we quite realized how many people were going to be there,” said senior Lauren Moyer, who scored two goals in Sunday’s victory over Maine.
But for Bernatchez, it was business as usual. The crowd drew her focus away from the game only once.
“When I got announced, everyone cheered really loudly,” she said. “It was kind of embarrassing.”
Coach Karen Shelton appreciated the crowd that showed up to watch Bernatchez in action.
“It was a great turnout,” she said. “It was a wonderful crowd, and it was really nice for (Bernatchez).”
From a bus full of students from Bernatchez’s alma mater, Messalonskee High School, to a crowd of players from her club team, she had a full cheering section.
However, Maine was not without its supporters.
Moyer said the team faced the challenges of an away game, from the Black Bear fans to the referees.
But the team, traveling by bus and plane, can return to UNC satisfied with the win and ready to face two big opponents in the upcoming weekend. The Tar Heels take on ACC rivals Syracuse and Duke on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
And for Bernatchez, it was a successful trip home.
“It was a great turnaround from Friday,” she said. “And it was really cool to see everyone that came out.”
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