Before the No. 1 North Carolina field hockey team(5-0) beat William & Mary (1-4), 8-0 on Sunday, head coach Karen Shelton had a goal for her team.
“We wanted to have a quick start today,” Shelton said. “We had not scored in the first quarter in the four previous games.”
It didn’t take long for the Tar Heels to achieve that goal.
In the third minute, senior midfielder Megan DuVernois scored off UNC’s first penalty corner of the afternoon, giving her team a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes after the first goal, senior forward Catherine Hayden scored off a pass from sophomore forward Erin Matson. Hayden deflected the ball toward the goal, and Tribe goalkeeper Kimi Jones was unable to stop it as the ball headed into the back of the net.
Hayden scored twice more in the half, and her three consecutive goals gave the Tar Heels a 4-0 lead at the break. Her outing on Sunday was the third hat trick of her collegiate career.
"She’s a scorer and she gets herself in good position,” Shelton said. “She’s got that knack and I was happy for her to get on the board.”
Hayden has been getting on the board a lot lately. In North Carolina’s past two games, Hayden has scored five goals after only scoring one in the first three games.
“I play pretty high up the field. I like to work around the goalie,” Hayden said. “I like to screen the goalies, so they can’t see. A lot of people think it’s funny that I’m not afraid to stand there. I just play into it: that is my role, that is what I do.”
With a commanding lead over the Tribe, the Tar Heels refused to let up. Senior forward Marissa Creatore, sophomore forward Riley Fulmer, junior midfielder Eva Smolenaars and Matson all scored goals in the second half.
In the past two games, UNC’s backline has found its groove. In the team’s first three games, opponents scored six goals. But in the past two, North Carolina hasn't allowed any.
On Sunday, the Tribe took 10 shots in the contest, four on goal; they never found the back of the net.
“I think we are doing a really great job of starting to gel,” junior goalkeeper Amanda Hendry said. “Our defense is pretty young, but we are really starting to connect with each other. I think we are doing a great job of getting in front of people, stopping the ball from even getting into the circle.”
Despite the dominant win, Shelton remains focused on the future.
“I am pleased with our development,” Shelton said. “We're not as we will be. We have potential to keep growing, and that is what we need to do all season long.”
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