WINSTON-SALEM — For the eighth time in program history, and the second year in a row, the UNC field hockey team is a national champion.
The Tar Heels capped off another perfect 23-0 season with a 6-1 win over Princeton on Sunday at Wake Forest’s Kentner Stadium.
Sophomore Erin Matson and junior Eva Smolenaars both scored twice for UNC, Marissa Creatore and Hannah Griggs added goals of their own and North Carolina played some stout defense throughout en route to its 46th consecutive win.
For the third game in a row, the Tar Heels trailed early. Princeton got off to a hot start when Clara Roth assisted Emma Street for a goal in the third minute.
UNC needed another comeback.
Then, as it always does, the offense arrived. In the waning moments of the first quarter, redshirt senior Marissa Creatore flicked a shot on goal that was initially saved. Creatore didn’t flinch, though, and punched the rebound into the goal for North Carolina to tie the game at 1-1.
The Tar Heels didn’t stop there, they were awarded a penalty corner in the 21st minute and after a scrum in the circle, the ball was kicked out to junior midfielder Eva Smolenaars. She collected herself and fired a shot into the top of the goal for UNC’s second of the game, making it 2-1.
North Carolina would go into halftime sporting a 2-1 lead over the Tigers.