If there were ever a time for the North Carolina field hockey team to lose, it would have been Sunday.
It was the final game of a season that would see no real ending. There was no NCAA Tournament seeding to jockey for, no third straight national championship to strive toward and no record-breaking winning streak to protect.
In the opening half of Sunday’s ACC Championship matchup with Louisville, the Tar Heels looked dead in the water. After falling into a 2-0 deficit against a Cardinals group that had snapped UNC’s 47-game winning streak just a month before, it looked as though the Tar Heels were something they hadn’t been in over two years: beatable.
Despite the deficit — and a powerful Louisville offense that notched more shots and more penalty corners, and dominated possession for much of the game’s first half — it was the Tar Heels who took to Franklin Street donning t-shirts and hats declaring them the best in the ACC, once again, as champions.
“It’s all about the end goal,” said Erin Matson, a junior forward who iced a 4-2 UNC victory with a goal in the final minutes. “Whenever there were little pebbles in the road, people would figure it out and come together.”