The No. 4 North Carolina field hockey team (3-3) defeated Drexel (1-5), 7-1, in a Sunday afternoon matchup in Philadelphia.
The Tar Heels started off at a frantic pace, taking 11 shots, none of which found the back of the goal. Four penalty corners gave UNC plenty of looks, but skillful saves from Dragons goalkeeper Megan Hadfield kept the match scoreless through the first 15 minutes.
UNC wasted no time at the start of the second quarter, taking control of the ball and attacking the goal hard. Less than a minute into the period, Meredith Sholder found fellow senior forward Hannah Griggs, who put up an arching shot from the right side of the goal that was good for the first score.
The Tar Heels continued to push the pace as they tried to capitalize on a numbers advantage as Drexel lost players due to yellow and green cards. With less than two minutes left in the half, senior forward Erin Matson scored a second goal for UNC off a penalty stroke.
UNC’s offense continued to dominate the possession game in the second half as the Dragons struggled to move the ball down the field without it getting picked off by a Tar Heel midfielder. By the end of the third quarter, UNC had 27 shots compared to Drexel’s zero. Matson and senior midfielder Cassie Sumfest scored three more goals in that time, giving the Tar Heels a lopsided 5-0 lead.
Drexel eventually scored in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter off a penalty corner, with Dragons midfielder Amber Brouwer sneaking in the ball off a rebound from the initial shot. UNC responded with two more goals before the game’s end though, and the defending national champions left with a decisive 7-1 victory.
Who stood out?
Sumfest logged her first career hat trick for UNC. The senior put her full offensive prowess on display Sunday, showing that she can be a valuable scoring option behind Matson.
Matson was the focal point of the Tar Heels’ offense with 11 of UNC’s 33 total shots. The two-time national player of the year scored two goals and consistently drew the attention of Drexel defenders, allowing her to set up her teammates for scoring plays.
Hadfield did about all she could to stop the barrage of shots from UNC. The junior notched an impressive 16 saves, despite allowing seven goals.
When was it decided?
Matson’s third quarter goal that put UNC up by four was the nail in the coffin for Drexel.
First-year midfielder Jasmina Smolenaars made a backhanded pass across the goal that found Matson waiting on the right side, her stick angled to deflect the ball into the corner for the score.
Why does it matter?
After another disappointing loss to Saint Joseph’s on Friday, the Tar Heels once again rebounded in a big way against Drexel.
Now back to .500, UNC will look to carry the momentum from this high scoring win next week’s home opener. After six away games against tough opponents to open the season, perhaps the Tar Heels will be able to settle down with a three-game homestand.
When do they play next?
UNC will face Miami University next Sunday at 1 p.m. in Karen Shelton Stadium.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.