In a closely-contested top-25 matchup, the No. 7 North Carolina field hockey team beat No. 20 Albany in overtime, 2-1.
In a scoreless first half, the narrative of the game was controlled by each team's defense as neither squad could find the back of the net.
The North Carolina offense pushed hard, but its opportunities failed to come up with any points. Over the course of the half, all four of the Tar Heels' shots were on goal, but they had just two corners and no goals to show for it. The Great Danes (4-4) also took seven shots in the half, one on goal, and rounded out the last few minutes with the last five corners in the period.
Headed into the second period, the multitude of shots for both teams were bound to find the back of the net eventually. And they did. Sixty-four minutes into the contest, the Great Danes took a 1-0 lead on its second and last shot on goal of the day. Less than two minutes later, senior Gab Major knotted the score up 1-1, and the momentum began to shift with only a few minutes to go in the game.
After a few last minute shots went wide, the game went into overtime. But — it only took the Tar Heels (9-2, 2-1 ACC) 56 seconds in the third period to close the game out after junior Malin Evert's goal polished off North Carolina's comeback.
Who stood out?
Evert’s game winner put her as the top offensive player in the game. Her goal in the opening minute of overtime gave the Tar Heels their first lead all game — and it ended the Sunday afternoon's contest. In 63 minutes on the field, she scored one goal on two shots.
Gab Major also had a day. The senior forward led the team by taking the first shot of the game and one of the last to pull her team back into a close game that was slipping away. She was effective in just 23 minutes, shooting two shots and scoring on one of them.
When was it decided?
The game was anyone’s for the taking until overtime. After North Carolina crawled back into it with less than seven minutes to go, Evert closed out the game in the first minute of the third period to garner the team's ninth win of the season.
Why does it matter?
The tough win proved that the stats will eventually catch up with the results. North Carolina had 11 of its 17 shots on target to its opponents two for the game. Though it took a while to score, the team’s resiliency showed.
This win proves that even on a day when the offense is clicking, but the shots weren't finding their way home, a tough win can still be scratched out. As the team continues down its later stretches of the season, this win will be an indication that any game is within reach for the Tar Heels.
Where do they play next?
The North Carolina field hockey team will take on Old Dominion Sunday at 1 p.m. in Durham.
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