No. 9 North Carolina uses a strong second half and three goals from Erin Matson, now at 100 for her career, to take down No. 22 Duke 4-1 on Friday night, improving to 8-4 on the season.
Duke capitalized first off a penalty corner midway through the first period to take a 1-0 lead. It was a defensive battle for most of the half with UNC stopping multiple Duke corners to keep the game close. On the other end, however, the Tar Heels were struggling to get many good scoring opportunities of their own.
It wasn't until 1:42 remaining in the half when UNC was rewarded with its own penalty corner. Off a Paityn Wirth insert, Matson ripped a shot from the top of the circle past the Duke goalkeeper to tie the game up at one heading into halftime.
North Carolina broke the tie in the back half of the third period as Matson struck again with a powerful shot to give UNC its first lead of the game. Just two minutes later, first-year midfielder Jasmina Smolenaars scored a goal off another penalty corner with a great pass from senior Cassie Sumfest to increase the lead to 3-1.
North Carolina continued to put pressure on the Duke defense in the fourth period with Wirth earning a penalty stroke and Matson converting from the spot to make the score 4-1 and secure the win for the Tar Heels.
Who stood out?
Matson was sensational, being a constant source of offense all night long with three goals and six shots on goal. Her third goal of the night would end up being her 18th of the season, and 100th career goal at UNC, a monumental accomplishment for the senior forward.
The starting backline consisting of Madison Orobono, Kelly Smith and Romea Riccardo along with goalkeeper Abigail Taylor were fantastic as well. They only allowed one Duke goal off of 10 penalty corners and 16 total shots, with Taylor recording six saves.