No. 7 North Carolina (5-3, 1-0 ACC) picked a convincing 6-1 victory against No. 5 Boston College (7-2, 0-2 ACC) to begin ACC play having six different goal scorers.
The Tar Heels jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period thanks to a deflection from sophomore midfielder Katie Dixon off a penalty corner with the pass coming in from senior Cassie Sumfest.
North Carolina stayed on the attack as the team capitalized on another corner at the start of the second period to make the score 2-0. Senior Erin Matson sent a beautiful pass into the striking circle only for first-year midfielder Jasmina Smolenaars to tap it into the net for what would be her first career goal.
With strong defense throughout both periods only allowing two total shots from Boston College, UNC maintained its 2-0 lead heading into the half.
UNC was on fire in the third period with forwards Hannah Griggs, Meredith Sholder and Matson scoring goals in the first eight minutes.
One more goal from first-year Lisa Slinkert would seal the deal for North Carolina. Although Boston College managed to score in the final five minutes, it would not be enough as North Carolina won 6-1 to improve to 5-3 on the season.
UNC outshot Boston College 18-7 with first-year goalkeeper Abigail Taylor only needing to make one save in the win.
Who stood out?
Jasmina Smolenaars had arguably her best game this season as she scored the first goal of her UNC career. This is the third straight game Smolenaars has registered a point, showing her solid play as of recent.
Matson showed out as usual with three points and five shots on target and assisted Smolenaars first goal as a Tar Heel. Matson’s goal would be her 11th of the season which currently leads the ACC.
Griggs also had a solid game, scoring her fifth goal of the season and putting all three of her shots on target, being a constant scoring threat in the attacking third.
When was it decided?
UNC pulled away in the third period when it was only a two-goal lead as the Tar Heels scored three goals to increase their lead to 5-0.
The first goal was sparked by junior forward Paityn Wirth making a beautiful run up the right side and crossing it to Griggs who slammed the ball into the goal.
The Heels never looked back as a rocket from Sholder from the top of the circle and a sliding goal from Matson off an Eva Smolenaars cross from the left corner put the game out of reach for the Golden Eagles.
Why does it matter?
After losing three close games this season to ranked opponents, getting an impressive win against a top-five team is huge for the Tar Heels confidence heading into the back half of the season.
But the fashion in which they won should give head coach Karen Shelton the utmost confidence in her team. The Tar Heels were aggressive all game long, staying on the attack for most of it and capitalizing on their created chances, especially early on to set the tone.
On top of that, the defense was imposing on the Boston College offense, restricting them to any decent scoring opportunities in the first three periods as they allowed two shot attempts.
With several key ACC matchups ahead like Duke and Virginia, Tar Heel fans should be excited for what’s to come as North Carolina looks to capture their fifth consecutive ACC championship.
When do they play next?
UNC is back in action at Karen Shelton Stadium this Sunday to face UConn at 1 p.m.
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