The North Carolina field hockey team (4-3) defeated Miami (OH) (3-6) in Sunday’s match at Karen Shelton Stadium, winning 7-2.
The Tar Heels established early control of the game, possessing the ball for most of the first period. They held their opponent to zero total shots before junior midfielder Paityn Wirth scored the first goal of the game, which was also her first goal of the season, about 12 minutes in. Less than a minute later, Miami tied the game with a goal of their own, but a goal by senior forward Hannah Griggs put UNC back on top at the end of the period.
The second period was quieter, as the Tar Heels continued to dictate the game with solid defensive play. A goal by senior midfielder Cassie Sumfest off of a penalty corner added to the lead, giving UNC a 3-1 advantage going into halftime.
The Tar Heels didn’t waste any time scoring in the second half, as Griggs scored her second goal a little over a minute into the third period. However, they allowed another turn-around goal for Miami seconds later, similar to Miami’s first goal in the first period. UNC scored twice more in the period, with one coming off the bench from sophomore midfielder Kiersten Thomassey and another from senior midfielder Eva Smolenaars.
Senior forward Erin Matson scored the final goal of the game in the game-clinching fourth period. UNC closed out the game without giving up another score, earning a 7-2 victory.
Who stood out?
Major contributions came from all over the field for the Tar Heels. The captain of the team, Matson was able to penetrate the opponent’s defense the whole afternoon, attempting seven shots on goal with one goal and one assist.
Griggs was able to cash in two goals on her only two shots of the game, and like Wirth, Thomassey also recorded her first goal of the season.
When was it decided?
This game was decided in the third period, with the team totaling three goals in the 15-minute interval. Although UNC had the two-score advantage at the half, the game was still in reach. The Tar Heels maintained their focus in the third, putting their opponent away with early and consistent goals paired with stifling defense. There was little to no competition left at the end of the third period with the Tar Heels on top 6-2 heading into the fourth.
Why does it matter?
After this win, the Tar Heels are back to winning consecutive games, as this is their second two-game win streak of the season. They are now back over .500 after an unusual 3-3 start in their first six matchups. With this game, the team can build on its recent success to keep its season on the winning track that it is accustomed to.
When do they play next?
UNC will face Boston College at home on Friday at 4 p.m.
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