The No. 7 North Carolina field hockey team (6-3, 1-0 ACC) finished off its weekend strong, taking down No. 15 Connecticut (4-6, 1-1 Big East), 3-1, at Karen Shelton Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The win helped the Tar Heels move to 6-3 on the season and win their fourth consecutive game.
UConn drew first blood when junior midfielder McKenna Sergi scored from right in front of the UNC goal. Sergi’s goal just 4:17 into the game was the only one of the first quarter. North Carolina came close to equalizing off a penalty corner, but senior forward Erin Matson’s shot missed just left of the goal.
Matson got another prime opportunity with 12:25 left in the second, but her backhand attempt got saved by UConn goalkeeper Cheyenne Sprecher. Another penalty corner ensued that led to two shots by first-year midfielder Jasmina Smolenaars, but both attempts got blocked before they reached the goal.
UConn’s Madi Herb then earned a yellow card that led to Jasmina’s older sister, senior midfielder Eva Smolenaars, putting another shot on net, but Sprecher rose to the occasion and made the save.
Still in the second, Matson capitalized on an errant UConn pass right to the doorstep and tied the game at one. This was her 12th goal of the season, and it came with just under nine minutes left in the half.
In the third quarter, senior midfielder Cassie Sumfest nearly scored off a penalty corner, but her shot got deflected off a UConn defender’s stick. Another penalty corner opportunity awaited the Tar Heels with six and a half minutes left, but shots from both Matson and Sumfest didn’t reach the goal.
Matson received a green card with a minute and a half left in the third, but UConn couldn’t take advantage of its powerplay, and the teams entered the final quarter tied at one.