No. 5 UNC field hockey had a 6-0 shutout win at Albany on Sunday, a redeeming comeback from its Friday loss to No. 11 Syracuse.
The game was off to a quick start for a Tar Heel offense that was trying to redeem itself from a 5-0 loss at Syracuse two days prior. Junior midfielder Paityn Wirth scored the first goal of the game just after the first minute on the clock, with an assist by senior forward Hannah Griggs. Despite taking two more shots, the Tar Heels did not score again in the first quarter. Neither did the Great Danes, who only attempted one shot that quarter.
The second quarter was essential to UNC’s success in this matchup. The offense got started just as quickly as it did in the first quarter, with first-year forward and midfielder Kennedy Cliggett scoring at the 16:31 mark. Once again, the assist came from Griggs.
From here, North Carolina didn’t slow down. The team scored another three goals in the quarter, two of which were made by senior forward Erin Matson. The other came when the half was drawing to a close, when first-year midfielder Jasmina Smolenaars scored just shy of the 29th minute.
The Tar Heel defense was also a significant factor in the team’s dominance. They didn’t allow Albany to make any shots in the second quarter.
UNC entered the third quarter with a 5-0 lead over the Great Danes. They were unable to score in the third, but a strong defense also kept Albany from scoring.
Albany made one last effort in the last quarter of the game. They took four shots, but found no success. In comparison, North Carolina attempted nine shots, one of which resulted in a goal by first-year midfielder Lisa Slinkert.
The Tar Heels defeated Albany in a 6-0 shutout.
Who stood out?
First-years had a significant influence in the Tar Heels’ win over Albany. Half of UNC’s six goals against the Great Danes were scored by first-years, all of whom have scored previously this season. The impressive offense displayed by first-years Kennedy Cliggett, Jasmina Smolenaars and Lisa Slinkert in today’s matchup demonstrates that these young North Carolina field hockey players are already a force to be reckoned with.
When was it decided?
This game was decided as early as the first UNC goal, less than two minutes into playing time. The Tar Heels quickly dominated the game both offensively and defensively, and any efforts by Albany to regain control of the game failed. After the assertive second quarter of the game by North Carolina, there was little hope that the Great Danes could come back. They did not enter the second half with an energy strong enough to combat the Tar Heels, making it clear that UNC would walk away with the win.
Why does it matter?
After a four-game winning streak, North Carolina suffered a devastating shutout loss at Syracuse on Friday. This loss made UNC 1-1 in ACC play, while Syracuse became 2-0 in conference games. The Tar Heels proved its position as a prominent, top-ranked field hockey team in their Sunday matchup against Albany.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will return home on Friday for a 7:30 matchup against No. 20 Duke.
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