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Friday February 3rd

UNC field hockey handles Duke, 2-0, in top-ranked matchup

<p>Yentl Leemans (18) races Duke player Haley Schleicher (10) for ball in a field hockey game at Karen Shelton Stadium on Friday Oct. 4, 2019. UNC won 2-0, marking their 33rd consecutive victory.</p>
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Yentl Leemans (18) races Duke player Haley Schleicher (10) for ball in a field hockey game at Karen Shelton Stadium on Friday Oct. 4, 2019. UNC won 2-0, marking their 33rd consecutive victory.

The No. 1 North Carolina field hockey team defeated No. 2 Duke, 2-0, at a packed Karen Shelton Stadium on Oct. 4. The win preserved the Tar Heels undefeated record and marks their 33rd consecutive win.

What happened?

North Carolina (10-0, 3-0 ACC) came out strong, dominating most of the offensive chances in the first half. At the end of the second period the Tar Heels had nine shots to the Blue Devils’ (8-2, 0-2 ACC) two.

While the shot margin between the teams significantly favored UNC, North Carolina struggled to convert those chances into goals as it took only a 1-0 lead into halftime. 

The only goal of the half came off an unselfish pass from sophomore Hannah Griggs that drew out Duke's goalkeeper. Griggs slid the ball across the middle to senior Marissa Creatore for an easy finish before going into halftime.

Coming out of the half, the momentum seemed to shift in favor of the Blue Devils. North Carolina was only able to produce one shot in the third period. Despite the Tar Heels’ lack of possession and shots on goal out of the break, they remained sound on defense, keeping Duke scoreless going into the fourth period.

As the final period got underway, UNC regained its strong form from earlier in the game. Sophomore Erin Matson put the second goal away in the 46th minute with a ripped shot into the top of the cage coming off one of the Tar Heels' eight penalty corners.

Who stood out?

Against Duke, Creatore continued her run of impressive play and offensive production from this season. Her first-half goal marks her eighth score of the season. Creatore also finished off what would have been North Carolina's third goal of the game before it was overturned.

Matson continued to show why she has been named National Player of the Week three times this season. Her second-half finish brought her streak of consecutive games with a goal to eight. Matson has scored or assisted on 25 of the Tar Heels' total 48 goals this year. 

When was it decided?

The game was very much up in the air until the fourth period. While North Carolina dominated most of the first half, Duke was able to keep the score within a close striking distance for the majority of the game.

Matson’s goal in the fourth period off the penalty corner gave UNC a larger separation that the top-ranked team in the country was almost certainly not going to give up.

Why does it matter?

It’s not very often that rivalry games of this caliber happen between the No. 1 and No. 2 programs in the country. This win keeps the Tar Heels undefeated and marks their fifth shutout victory of the year.

UNC continues its historic run, winning its 33rd game in a row with this victory, a streak that dates back to the start of last season. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will look to continue their winning streak against Syracuse on Saturday, Oct. 12, in Syracuse, New York.


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