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Friday September 24th

UNC field hockey loses unprecedented second straight game, first 0-2 start since 1992

UNC field hockey players celebrate at the game vs Iowa in Iowa City on Aug. 29. The Tar Heels lost 1-3. Photo courtesy of Iowa Athletics.
Buy Photos UNC field hockey players celebrate at the game vs Iowa in Iowa City on Aug. 29. The Tar Heels lost 1-3. Photo courtesy of Iowa Athletics.

The No. 1 North Carolina field hockey team (0-2) lost its second game of the season to No. 3 Iowa (2-0), 1-3, at Grant Field in Iowa City. 

UNC opened the season with two matchups in the ACC-Big Ten challenge. When the Tar Heels played the Hawkeyes in the 2021 NCAA semifinals, UNC won 3-0. Today’s defeat, following North Carolina’s season opener against Michigan on Saturday, denotes the team's first time dropping consecutive games since 2013. 

What happened?

The Hawkeyes started the first quarter offensively strong, taking six shots on goal. The Tar Heels fought back defensively, as Iowa failed to score in large part to keeper Abigail Taylor making three saves. The hosting Iowa scored within 30 seconds of the second quarter, but Erin Matson’s first goal of the season tied up the game 1-1 before halftime. 

Despite UNC’s leading 12-8 shot advantage in the third quarter, the Hawkeyes took a 2-1 lead following Meghan Conroy's shot on goal. UNC’s replacement of goalkeeper Abigail Taylor for an extra attacker in the fourth quarter led to a game sealing goal for Iowa. Carolina had two penalty corner opportunities for goals, but could not convert and put more points on the board. The game ended in a 3-1 loss for North Carolina, bringing the team to an 0-2 record season start. 

Who stood out? 

First-year goalkeeper Abigail Taylor saved three shots on goal within the first quarter of the game, bolstering Carolina’s defensive play. Though the effort was not enough to capture a victory, it kept UNC competitive in a game that saw the team score just once. 

Despite not having scored in the opening game against Michigan, senior forward Erin Matson earned the lone goal for the Tar Heels against Iowa in the 25th minute of play. Matson tied the game 1-1 and picked up the pace for Carolina’s offense heading into halftime. 

When was it decided?

When UNC removed Taylor in favor of an extra attacker, the Hawkeyes scored with 12 minutes remaining in the game. Despite falling behind 3-1 in the fourth quarter, the Tar Heels had two opportunities for penalty corners in the final ten minutes of the game. Carolina could not manage to catch up, resulting in a hard fought loss. 

Why does it matter? 

North Carolina opened the season with two games against teams ranked in the top three of the NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll, falling to both the Wolverines and the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. UNC has not started with an 0-2 record since 1992, but there are many more games to come this season. The Tar Heels, having reeled of a 47-game winning streak from 2018-2020 and winning a third consecutive NCAA championship title last season, are up to the challenge of turning this year around under Coach Shelton’s leadership.

Who do they play next? 

The Tar Heels will play No. 13 Princeton on Friday as part of the two-game weekend, with the second game coming against Penn on Sunday.

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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