The North Carolina field hockey team defeated Syracuse, 4-3, in overtime on Friday in the ACC Championship semifinals. UNC will advance to face top-seeded Louisville, the only team to beat the Tar Heels this season, in the ACC Championship final on Sunday.
The Tar Heels struck first with a goal from senior midfielder Bryn Boylan that was assisted by sophomore back Madison Orobono on a penalty corner by UNC. Syracuse tried to respond but North Carolina goalkeeper Amanda Hendry came up with a save for the Tar Heels.
The Orange had offensive numbers in the final minute of the second quarter, but the UNC defense found a way out of the dangerous situation to hold the Orange scoreless in the first half. The Tar Heels were scoreless in the second quarter and entered the second half holding on to a narrow lead.
Syracuse came out hot on offense to start the second half, scoring its first goal off a corner play less than a minute in. Despite a couple more corner opportunities for the Orange, the score remained 1-1 at the end of the third quarter.
The Tar Heels capitalized on a breakaway opportunity from forward Meredith Sholder, who assisted forward Erin Matson’s goal. The Tar Heels struck again moments later when Matson assisted wide-open sophomore midfielder Paityn Wirth to push the lead to 3-1.
The Orange responded quickly, ending the North Carolina momentum and cutting the lead to just one goal. In the final minute of the second half, Syracuse scored the game-tying goal off a Hailey Bitters deflection.
UNC only needed five minutes in the overtime period to convert a winning goal and end the game after Boylan finished a penalty stroke that was awarded to the Tar Heels on a penalty against the Syracuse goalkeeper.