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Friday February 3rd

UNC field hockey beats Wake Forest, 5-0, in final regular season match

<p>DTH File. Senior midfielder, Eva Smolenaars, at the game against Wake Forest on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.</p>
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DTH File. Senior midfielder, Eva Smolenaars, at the game against Wake Forest on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.

The North Carolina field hockey team (7-1, 7-1 ACC) and Wake Forest (2-7, 2-7) entered the final weekend of the regular season with near-opposite records, and with the Tar Heels locked into the two-seed for the ACC Tournament next week, the Demon Deacons were trying to avoid slipping further down the standings. Still, the Tar Heels came away with a 5-0 home victory on Friday to extend their winning streak to five games. 

What happened?

North Carolina got rolling early with a goal in the third minute, as redshirt junior Cassie Sumfest passed a penalty corner to two-time ACC offensive player of the year, junior Erin Matson, who finished the play to give UNC a 1-0 lead. After that, penalties continued to plague the Demon Deacons, as another corner opportunity allowed Sumfest to score for herself. After the quick scores for UNC, Wake Forest controlled the ball for most of the first quarter, but couldn’t generate many chances, only notching one shot to the Tar Heels’ six.

Wake Forest's first real chance came three minutes into the second quarter, as senior goalkeeper Amanda Hendry fought through several close shots to get a whistle directly before the ball found its way into the net. Wake Forest head coach Jennifer Averill called for a review of the play, but after taking a look, the play stood and the score remained 2-0 in favor of the Tar Heels.

Later in the quarter, UNC was on the attack, and padded their lead with an unassisted goal from Meredith Sholder. Sholder was left one-on-one at the top of the semi circle, put a move on her defender, and slid the ball past the right pad of Demon Deacon goalkeeper Tori Glaister. Shortly after, the Tar Heels thwarted consecutive corner chances to keep the lead — and momentum — in their favor going into halftime.

In the third, neither team managed to come up with more than a couple of scoring chances, and the defense shone through, with only three total shots for both clubs.

North Carolina extended its lead to 5-0 by the final whistle by way of two more goals from Matson, securing the victory in the Tar Heels' final regular season match.

Who stood out?

Matson had yet another stellar performance, scoring three goals on five shots, bringing her total to nine so far this year. Hendry stood tall in net all evening for North Carolina, earning six saves in 55 minutes, and recording her third shutout of the season.

When was it decided?

The game felt over for much of the second half, but the final nail in the Demon Deacon's coffin came when Matson finished off a pass from first-year Katie Dixon, putting UNC up 4-0 with a little over 12 minutes remaining. Wake Forest had a few more chances late, but weren’t able to find the back of the net.

Why does it matter?

Though the contest didn’t have much of an effect on the ACC standings, it was an important chance for the Tar Heels to show they could continue their strong play after almost two weeks off and maintain momentum heading into next week’s ACC Tournament.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will return to action on Thursday, Nov. 5 in the ACC Quarterfinals. Originally scheduled to be held at Duke, the Tournament has been moved to Karen Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill. 


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