Finally, after over 45 minutes of fruitless offensive attack, van’t Hoog broke through and scored to tie the game. It was the sophomore’s second goal of the season, and a big one.
Her third goal of the season was even bigger. van’t Hoog controlled the ball in the circle, spun and fired a shot between the goalie’s legs to find the back of the cage. In the 50th minute, North Carolina had taken a 2-1 lead.
With just over nine minutes left, Eef Andriessen took a great pass from van’t Hoog, drove baseline and fired a shot past Duke goalie Sammi Steele to extend North Carolina’s lead to 3-1.
Duke played tough until the end, finding a second goal to cut UNC’s lead to 3-2, but the Tar Heel defense didn't break.
Who stood out?
van’t Hoog stepped up to power the Tar Heels to victory. Coming into the afternoon, van’t Hoog had accumulated three points, tied for 10th most on the team. But the sophomore doubled her season total in the Duke game alone with two goals and an assist.
On a day when the usual North Carolina stars like Lauren Moyer and Gab Major were held scoreless, van’t Hoog stepping up was vital for the Tar Heels.
When was it decided?
With over seven minutes left, North Carolina’s Megan DuVernois got a green-card penalty, forcing UNC to play a man down. The Tar Heels had just allowed Duke to climb back into a game that seemed to be over when Aisling Naughton scored to make it 3-2.
With some smart and safe passes, North Carolina killed off the penalty.
Another green-card penalty, this time on Moyer, meant the Tar Heels would have to kill off yet another penalty. Playing a man down, the final seconds ticked off the clock as the Tar Heel defense clung to their 3-2 lead.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina always enjoys beating Duke. These two teams have a long history and are great rivals in all sports, so this win means a little extra. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils also met last year in the NCAA semifinal game, when UNC prevailed 2-0 and advanced to the NCAA championship. The Tar Heels shut down any hopes that the Blue Devils had of revenge or redemption.
Also, UNC beat the first and second ranked teams in the NFHCA coaches poll this weekend. North Carolina, currently No. 5 in that poll, can expect to move up a few spots this week.
Beyond rivalries and polls, the two wins this weekend will do wonders for North Carolina’s confidence as a team. A loss on September 16 to Boston College had the Tar Heels doubting themselves, and today’s win reaffirms the Tar Heels as a national contender.
Where do they play next?
UNC plays Michigan next Sunday at home at 1 p.m. The Tar Heels already lost 1-0 to the Wolverines back in August as a part of the ACC-Big 10 challenge.