The North Carolina field hockey team (3-1, 2-1 ACC) took the field in Karen Shelton Stadium on Sunday afternoon for its home opener against Virginia (3-2, 2-1 ACC) and defeated the Cavaliers 5-1 in a blowout win.
With no goals in the first quarter, the match started out slow. North Carolina had 4 attempts all miss, but was able to keep Virginia from taking any shots at the goal with some excellent defense. Sophomore back Romea Riccardo was a large part of that defense and did an exceptional job at keeping the ball away from the other team and stealing it back when it slipped away. Junior forward Erin Matson had a close shot with a few minutes left in the first period but wasn’t close enough to score.
The second period began with Matson earning the Tar Heels’ third penalty corner. She had another close shot, but Virginia goalkeeper Taylor Henriksen successfully deflected it. Not even three minutes later, Matson opened the game's scoring with an assist from junior forward Hannah Griggs. The second quarter ended with Virginia missing its first attempt at a goal.
Three minutes into the third quarter, junior back Cassie Sumfest took a shot at the goal and sophomore midfielder Paityn Wirth tapped it in, making the score 2-0 for UNC. Just two minutes later, senior midfielder Eva Smolenaars scored a third goal for North Carolina. To end the action-packed third quarter, Wirth scored her second goal of the game, leaving the score at 4-0 heading into the fourth quarter.