Once UNC regained the momentum, senior Ashley Hoffman was able to close it out with a decisive penalty stroke during the extra period, securing the win for the Tar Heels.
Despite finishing the ACC-Big Ten Challenge with an unblemished record, Shelton said there’s room for improvement in many areas.
“We have a lot of work to do,” she said. “They gave us everything we could handle. Really at the end of the day, I think they deserved to win more than we did. We came into this season really thinking that we were going to be one of the top two or three teams in the nation, and I think we did not play like it this weekend. I think we’re a tad overconfident.”
The contest was a firm wake-up call for Hoffman, the 2017 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
“This was a humbling game for us,” the Mohnton, Pa. native said. “I think everyone came out with such high expectations for us, and we did, too. We’re not going to lower them, but we have to realize that if we don’t do the work, we’re going to have overtime games, and we may even have losses. We were lucky to get this win today because they’re a very good team. It’s mentality before anything else.”
Shelton mentioned the stigma that exists between teams in the Big Ten and ACC as a possible cause of concern prior to the weekend.
“You see two Big Ten teams outwork and out-hustle us over the weekend,” Shelton said. “We tend to be a little snobby here in the ACC. The Big Ten plays a hard, physical and bashing game, and we play finesse and pretty at times."
Despite concerns with her team’s performances over the weekend, Shelton appreciated the way her players were able to battle through down the stretch and earn the victory in dramatic fashion.
"I think we try to be too perfect and too clever, and I think they put the clamps on us," Shelton said. "We had to do everything that we could — pulling out all of the stops — to get the win."
In a weekend filled with buildup for the opening of the program’s new stadium, Shelton reflected that the pressure might have gotten to her players — as well as herself. With that being said, the team will remember this weekend as a success.
"It was just a fantastic weekend, but for our team, I think there were a lot of distractions basically — for myself as well," Shelton said. "To come away with two wins against two great teams is fantastic.”
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