Goals in field hockey can be hard to come by – unless you are No. 1 ranked North Carolina.
In a Sunday afternoon matchup against Penn, the Tar Heels poured in five goals in the span of nine minutes on their way to a 6-0 shutout of the Quakers, concluding their sweep of the ACC-Ivy League Conference Crossover.
After a scoreless first quarter, UNC’s offense erupted in the second quarter. The five-goal frenzy is the most the team has scored in a game this season, let alone a single quarter. In the time it would take you to get a hotdog from the concession stand, the 2018 national champion Tar Heels blew the game open from an even draw into a 27th straight win.
“When we’re on, we’re on,” senior forward Catherine Hayden said. “We returned our entire starting forward line, so offensively we had high expectations for ourselves because we know what we can do.”
Hayden was the only player to score multiple goals on the day, with five separate Tar Heels finding the back of the cage using style of play defined by unselfishness. Head coach Karen Shelton felt that her team’s willingness to share the ball was key to their success in the second quarter.
“What I really liked about the game was that we finally started passing like Carolina,” Shelton said. “In our first three games of the season we weren’t really passing like our normal selves.”
This patented style of play from UNC is something that Hayden would like to see more consistently from her offensive unit, rather than solely in isolated bursts.
“We have the offense, we just have to figure out how to turn it on a little faster,” Hayden said. “To balance that throughout the whole game is something we are working on.”
Sunday’s match was an opportunity for UNC’s bench to see the field in the second half. With only three starters left on the field at the beginning of the third quarter, the Tar Heel reserves maintained the shutout and added one more goal. The consistency across the board on this team was reassuring to both senior leaders and the coaching staff.