For the majority of the regular season, first-years Zoe Redei and Bridgette Andrzejewski carried North Carolina, which came into the season unsure who would bear the scoring burden.
Redei scored three times in the Tar Heels’ first five games of the season, but she missed eight games down the stretch with an ankle injury. Picking up where her teammate left off, Andrzejewski tallied seven goals in conference play and earned ACC Freshman of the Year honors.
But in the past three weeks, it’s been first-year Madison Schultz who has stepped up the most. In UNC’s 2-0 win over Kansas on Friday, the forward from Edmonds, Washington, tallied the game-winning goal — her fourth in a six-game stretch — to give the Tar Heels a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“She took the game over,” Head Coach Anson Dorrance said. “It’s probably the best game she’s played as a Tar Heel.”
Schultz started the second half up top with Andrzejewski and Redei after a stellar first-half performance. Just over seven minutes later, she lofted a left-footed shot over the Jayhawk keeper, off the crossbar and into the back of the net.
“I didn’t hit it as cleanly as I wanted to, and I was quite disappointed with myself,” Schultz said. “And then I saw it bounce back up and hit the upper net, and then I was kind of relieved to see that it went in.”
North Carolina faced a tougher test in its 1-0 win over Clemson on Sunday, turning to a pair of sophomores to help lead the way.
The Tar Heels tied the Tigers earlier in the season, as they struggled to get more than one goal against first-team All-ACC keeper Kailen Sheridan. UNC knew it would need something miraculous to beat the senior Sunday — and it got just that in the 71st minute.