Three minutes after Matson gave her team a 1-0 lead, senior Eva van’t Hoog joined in on the scoring and doubled her team's lead.
Wake Forest did not respond until the 13th minute. After being awarded a penalty corner, the Demon Deacons were unable to shoot the ball into the net. On that play, they were fouled again in the circle and were awarded another penalty corner. On a second straight penalty corner, Wake Forest’s Jule Grashoff shot the ball past the goal keeper and cut the UNC lead to 2-1.
Once the Tar Heels sensed their lead was diminishing, they bounced back with two more goals to push the lead to 4-1.
To close out the first half, Grashoff scored her second goal of the game, marking only the second time UNC has allowed its opponent to score two goals all season long. The last time it allowed an opponent to score two goals in a contest was on Oct. 21 against Duke.
In the first half, the Tar Heels had 12 shots while the Demon Deacons had just four. With a 4-2 lead at halftime, the team's main goal was to continue to push offensively.
Less than nine minutes after the break, Matson shot the ball from the left side of the circle, which passed the goalkeeper and went into the net. That goal gave UNC a 5-2 lead and was also Matson’s second score of the contest.
“We came out firing again after half,” Matson said. “It is definitely a focus of ours to treat every opponent with respect and play a full 70-minute game as hard as the first minute.”
The Tar Heel offense did not stop there. In the 51st minute, Cassie Sumfest scored off a penalty corner and Megan DuVernois followed that up with a penalty stroke goal to cap off the victory.
Matson shined in her first ACC Tournament. In the semifinals and championship, Matson scored a total of four goals — cementing exactly why she was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year on Oct. 31. Head coach Karen Shelton said that Matson is a special player who grew a lot in her first season as a Tar Heel.
“I think (in) the early part of the season she was feeling her way, but I’ve said it all weekend long — big time players make big time plays in tournament settings," Shelton said. "She showed that.”
In Matson's first season as a member of the UNC field hockey team, she's contributed to a perfect 19-0 record, won an ACC Championship and leads the team in goals, with 16 on the season.
“I realized how lucky I am, and I think it has been kind of a perfect season so far,” Matson said. “With our record and how we have been kind of continuing to grow as a team, we are not planning on stopping that anytime soon.”
Now with an ACC Championship under their belt, the Tar Heels will celebrate until they learn who they play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“We are going to enjoy it, obviously for a couple hours, a little longer than that," Matson said with a laugh.
The Tar Heels await the winner of William & Mary and Monmouth, before hosting an NCAA Tournament first-round game on Friday.
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