Two days after toppling No. 7 Louisville in its ACC opener, the No. 1 North Carolina field hockey team moved to 7-0 (1-0 ACC) with a 4-1 win over Appalachian State in Boone on Sunday.
The reigning national champions got two goals from standout sophomore forward Erin Matson and one each from senior Megan DuVernois and sophomore Riley Fulmer. Head coach Karen Shelton’s team also set a new program record with 30 consecutive victories.
Matson scored UNC’s first goal just over two minutes into the game on a solo run down the left side of the field. But the Mountaineers, who entered Sunday 6-1, weren’t rattled and promptly drew consecutive penalty corners.
Although the first was fruitless, junior Veerle Van Heertum equalized the game on the second. The goal, assisted by Chloe Bell, tied UNC and App State at 1-1 with 10:48 left in the first period.
The defenses took over from there. Both teams had multiple shots and corners, but neither scored until midway through the next period. That’s when Matson netted her second goal of the game, and 10th this season, off a penalty corner played in by sophomore Abby Pitcairn.
With that one-goal cushion, the Tar Heels’ offense ramped up. They were outshooting the Mountaineers 13-2 at halftime, and DuVernois made it 3-1 early in the third period. After App State saved a shot from Yentl Leemans, DuVernois, a senior, scored off the rebound for her third of the season.
If that wasn’t the dagger, UNC’s next goal was. About five minutes after DuVernois’ shot, Matson sent the ball on a cross and found Fulmer for a tap-in goal — the sophomore’s fourth this season.
Who stood out?
Matson had a team-high six shots, five shots on goal and two goals. She also recorded UNC’s only assist of the game. Senior forward Catherine Hayden didn’t score but constantly pressured App State’s defense with five shots (four on goal).
UNC’s starting goalkeeper, Amanda Hendry, allowed one goal in 38 minutes. On the Mountaineers’ side, goalie Rachel Gaines had 12 saves in 58 minutes.
When was it decided?
Matson’s second goal gave North Carolina some breathing room, but DuVernois’ third-period goal iced the game. It came just two minutes into the second half.
Why does it matter?
UNC’s undefeated streak continues. Each win from here will break and set a new program record for a team that hasn’t lost since Nov. 17, 2017, in the NCAA Tournament semifinals.
The Tar Heels also put on another offensive clinic, outshooting App State 27-2 (19-1 shots on goal) and taking 11 penalty corners.
Who do they play next?
UNC travels to Charlottesville to play Virginia in an ACC game Friday at 5 p.m. The Cavaliers (6-1, 1-0 ACC) were ranked fifth in the country in the most recent coaches’ poll.
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