Friday night lights. Packed stadium in a rivalry match. All eyes were on senior forward Erin Matson as she stepped up to the penalty spot looking to put Duke away for good.
Every fan, teammate and coach was thinking about how Matson was about to score her 100th goal — except for her.
Or at least she tried. A friendly reminder of the occasion from her grandfather put the thought in her head, but as she always does, she put that aside to focus on helping her team pick up a win against its rival.
“I don’t like to think about those things,” Matson said. “It was a thought, but it also was more importantly just nice to kinda stick it to Duke a little bit more than 3-1.”
With one swift motion, she launched the ball to the right of Duke’s goalkeeper for her third goal of the night to give the Tar Heels a 4-1 lead and all but seal the victory.
“We’re very proud of Erin,” head coach Karen Shelton said. “She is just so hard to stop, and she’s so creative and so unselfish, and she means an awful lot to our team.”
Matson's teammates had similar praises, citing how her competitive presence has a ripple effect on the rest of the Tar Heels.
“She’s an incredible leader for our team,” junior back Madison Orobono said. “She like knows when to fire us up, knows when to calm us down and like she’s just always there for everyone.”
Although Matson is praised by virtually every person in the North Carolina field hockey program, she knows she couldn't have accomplished this feat alone.