The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday January 19th

No. 2 UNC field hockey defeats No. 9 Michigan in third straight top-10 win

The No. 2 North Carolina field hockey team defeated No. 9 Michigan 5-1 on Sunday. The Tar Heels redeemed themselves from their loss to the Wolverines earlier in the year, while earning another top-10 victory.

What happened?

Michigan (7-4) struck first in the game’s ninth minute. A counter attack overwhelmed the Tar Heels (9-2, 3-1 ACC), with Michigan’s Eliza Stein scoring off of a rebound.

UNC struggled to muster offense in the game’s first fifteen minutes, rarely possessing the ball in the attack area. The Wolverine defense routinely dispossessed the Tar Heels any time they reached the circle.

A Michigan foul gave UNC a chance at a penalty corner. Ashley Hoffman’s attempt was blocked, but Eva van’t Hoog capitalized on the second corner, rocketing the ball to the goalie’s left to tie the game at 1-1.

In the half’s last ten minutes, both teams had multiple penalty corners but came up empty. Goalie Shannon Johnson’s four first-half saves were instrumental in keeping the game tied.

UNC started quickly in the second, scoring on a penalty corner to take the lead. Hoffman fired a shot toward goal that Emma Bozek deflected into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal. The lead grew to 3-1 as Gab Major scored on an assist from Lauren Moyer, poking the ball through the goalie’s legs.

The offense continued to pressure the Michigan defense, with shots on goal from Moyer and Major that required impressive saves by Michigan’s Sam Swenson.

Pressure burst pipes, and that’s what happened when Hoffman found the back of cage on a penalty corner, giving UNC the 4-1 lead and effectively sealing the game. Moyer would add a goal for good measure on a penalty corner.

Who stood out?

Ashley Hoffman filled the stat sheet Sunday, tallying four points on two assists and a goal.

Hoffman was active on penalty corners, routinely taking the pass and putting shots near the net, either scoring or setting up teammates for deflections. With a 3-1 lead, Hoffman hit a laser on a penalty corner, scoring her first goal of the year and taking the life out of the Michigan defense.

With two assists, the sophomore midfielder pushed her total to a team-high seven on the year. The Tar Heels benefitted from her activity in the pass game and on penalty corners.

When was it decided?

In the game’s 59th minute, Michigan received a yellow card, putting UNC a man up for five minutes.

The Tar Heels wasted little time to take advantage, scoring on a penalty corner in the 60th minute. Hoffman took the insert and launched a shot toward goal, giving the goalie no shot at a save.

With the game out of reach, UNC added an insurance goal in the 63rd minute on yet another penalty corner. Moyer scored her team-high ninth goal of the year, sending a shot straight into the cage off of the insert.

Why does it matter?

UNC fell short against Michigan in the first game of the year. Michigan scored on a penalty corner with no time remaining to win 1-0.

The Tar Heels avenged one of their two losses this season, while notching a third-straight win against a top-10 opponent. The team has now won four games in a row after the loss to ACC foe Boston College.

With another win against a talented opponent, UNC made its case for the the No. 1 ranking. Only one point separates the Tar Heels and the No.1-ranked Connecticut.

Where do they play next?

The Tar Heels travel to play Davidson at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

@NoahGrant13

sports@dailytarheel.com

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