The North Carolina (4-1, 2-1 ACC) field hockey team managed to pull out its second win against the Virginia Cavaliers (3-3, 2-1 ACC) this season on Monday, continuing the Tar Heels' undefeated streak at home.
The Tar Heels were off to a strong start when senior Eva Smolenaars scored the first goal of the game only four minutes in. The rest of the first half had no goals from either team, despite several shots from both sides.
Both teams racked up numerous penalties — UNC with six and UVa with three — giving both teams many shots on goal. Many penalties led to many turnovers, and neither team stayed on the offensive for very long. Senior Bryn Boylan got the ball back into the Tar Heels' possession multiple times in the first half.
The second half got off to a rocky start, and the score remained 1-0 for the majority of it. With two minutes left in the third quarter, UVa first-year Anneloes Knol shot the ball past the goalie to tie the score up, 1-1.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, junior Erin Matson passed the ball to junior Meredith Sholder, who scored UNC’s second and final goal of the game. This was no easy win, as the Tar Heels successfully attempted to hold the ball in the last minute of the game to ensure their victory.
Who stood out?
Smolenaars secured the lead for UNC with her early goal in the first period, while Matson was a key player in the second half, assisting the second goal of the game that was scored by Sholder. Matson also played a key role in gaining possession numerous times for North Carolina.
When was it decided?
Possession went back and forth so quickly, this game wasn’t decided until the final seconds. Both teams fought hard for the win, and it was clear throughout the game that this wouldn’t be a guaranteed victory for either team. UNC held the ball in the last minute of the game, hitting it out of bounds in the last seven seconds, essentially securing the 2-1 win.
Why does it matter?
The North Carolina field hockey team has known nothing but victory for two years. The Tar Heels faced their first loss since the 2017 season on Oct. 2 to the Louisville Cardinals. What the rest of their season will look like is still a mystery, but the hard fight they put up today shows that they aren’t giving up anytime soon.
When do they play next?
UNC will face Syracuse in its fourth conference game of the season at home on Friday at 6 p.m.
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