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Monday March 20th

UNC field hockey trounces Liberty, 6-4, in regular season finale

The North Carolina field hockey team competes against Louisville on Saturday at Williams Field in Durham.
Buy Photos The North Carolina field hockey team competes against Louisville on Saturday at Williams Field in Durham.

The No. 6 North Carolina field hockey team closed out its regular season with a victory over Liberty on Sunday afternoon. The Tar Heels dominated possession and defeated the Flames 6-4. 

What happened?

The first half of the game was all North Carolina. The Tar Heels (13-4, 3-3 ACC) looked very aggressive on offense early in the game, jumping out to a 1-0 lead with a goal by Malin Evert just four minutes into the game.

North Carolina was absolutely dominant in the first half, with goals from Evert, Catherine Hayden and Meredith Sholder. With less than five minutes remaining in the first half, the Tar Heels had 13 shots — eight of which were on goal — and three penalty corners. Liberty (7-10, 5-2 Big East) had no shots or corners. 

It looked as if the Tar Heels were going to head into halftime up 4-0, but Liberty was able to get some momentum going in the last few minutes in the first half, and with 3:36 to play, Liberty’s Agueda Moroni scored off a penalty stroke and put her team on the board. 

The pace of the game picked up in the second half, and Liberty found themselves in more of a rhythm. The Flames played with more confidence and were able to control possession more than in the first half. Liberty finished with seven shots, all of which were on goal, compared to just one shot in the first half.

Liberty’s second half effort was not enough to overcome its deficit though, and Sholder scored North Carolina’s sixth goal of the game with under nine minutes to play to secure the Tar Heel the win. 

“I’m delighted with the win,” head coach Karen Shelton said. “Coming into the game, our start was great. I don’t want to say we won the game in the first twenty, but we certainly set a very powerful tone.”

Who stood out?

Evert made her presence known in the Tar Heel’s victory. She scored two goals in the first half, and a third goal three minutes into the second half, securing the hat-trick. Evert now has eight goals on the season, making her the team’s second leading scorer. 

“She’s a big-time player,” Shelton said. “I’m happy to see her have some success scoring some goals. She’s been threatening all year, but the result hasn’t always ended up with goals. To have her have an outburst like this today, it bodes well for us going into the ACC tournament.”

When was it decided?

Liberty was mounting a promising comeback in the second half until Sholder scored her second goal of the day with just under nine minutes to play, securing the win for her team.

Why does it matter?

Coming off a loss from No. 2 Duke last week, it was crucial that the Tar Heels closed out the regular season with a win as they head into the ACC tournament next week. 

The ACC is stacked, and today’s win will be huge for the Tar Heels to garner favorable seeding in the ACC tournament. 

Shelton said Liberty has given a lot of teams trouble all season, and the way the Tar Heels played today was great preparation going into the ACC tournament. 

When do they play next?

Next up, the Tar Heels head to Louisville, Ky. to take on Wake Forest in the ACC Quarterfinals on Nov. 2.

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