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Saturday February 4th

Eleven stats behind UNC field hockey's National Championship season

<p>Senior back Ashley Hoffman fights for the ball during North Carolina's 2-0 win over Maryland in the 2018 National Championship game on Nov. 18 in Louisville, Ky. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey A. Camarati.</p>
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Senior back Ashley Hoffman fights for the ball during North Carolina's 2-0 win over Maryland in the 2018 National Championship game on Nov. 18 in Louisville, Ky. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey A. Camarati.

On Sunday, the North Carolina field hockey team put an exclamation point on its season by winning the 2018 NCAA Championship. After taking down Maryland, 2-0, for their first title since 2009, we broke down 11 stats that put the Tar Heels’ success this season in context:

23: The number of wins for the Tar Heels on the season — more than any other program in the country. UNC plowed through non-conference play into the ACC slate, beating conference teams by a 43-10 combined margin. Along the way, most of the games weren’t even close.

0: The number of losses for the UNC field hockey team this season. The Tar Heels haven’t dropped a game since losing to Connecticut, last year’s eventual National Champion, in the 2017 Final Four. UNC used the loss as motivation to dominate its competition this year, leading to an undefeated season. The third undefeated season for the program tied Old Dominion for the most seasons without a loss in NCAA history. 

8: The number of consecutive final fours for UNC without winning a National Championship between 2010 and 2017. In 2018, North Carolina finally broke the streak by defeating Maryland, 2-0.

103: Goals scored by North Carolina on its national championship run this season. UNC scored efficiently, finding the back of the cage just under four and a half times per game on average. The Tar Heels scored the most goals in the country this season, two more than UConn, and miles ahead of everyone else. 

10: The number of shutouts on the season. Including the championship game, UNC shut out 10 of its 23 opponents. In those games without allowing a goal, the Tar Heels scored 44 combined goals. 

3: The number of games decided by one goal. While North Carolina was dominant all year, it almost had its first loss in the second game of the year against Iowa. In the 31st minute, the Hawkeyes took a 1-0 lead. It took a goal from first-year forward Erin Matson in the 62nd minute to tie the game and a strike from senior back Ashley Hoffman in overtime to win.Princeton also gave the Tar Heels a scare a game later as North Carolina didn’t score until the 65th minute. For the rest of the season, UNC held onto a lead consistently without the opponents having much chance of coming back. 

20: The number of goals scored by first-year standout Matson this season. Matson led the team in goals scored, assists and total points, scoring on 64.4 percent of her shots on goal. As recognition to her crucial role on the team, Matson was named ACC Freshman of the Year and ACC Offensive Player of the Year. She was also named to the All-NCAA Tournament team. 

.810: The combined save percentage from the team’s goalies. While flaunting a high-powered offense, the team’s primary goalie Amanda Hendry and sub Alex Halpin were huge reasons for the success as well. The two amassed 62 of the team’s 68 saves, making shots from opponents much more likely to be blocked than find the back of the goal this season. 

87: Difference in the number of goals UNC scored versus all their opponents combined. To win a National Championship, it took both an offensive and defensive effort. That’s exactly the kind of dynamic the Tar Heels had, pushing hard for goals and stopping offensive runs on the other end. 

81: The number of assists on goals this season. One of the best aspects of the team was sharing the ball and moving it around until someone was open. Thirteen of the team’s 15 goals during the NCAA Tournament were assisted. 

7: As UNC hoisted the NCAA Championship trophy, it marked head coach Karen Shelton’s seventh national title. North Carolina teams coached under Shelton have played in six title games since 2010, though in the previous five the Tar Heels fell. UNC also won the field hockey National Championship in 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2007 and 2009.


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