After a bounce back win against No. 15 Wake Forest last week, the No. 10 North Carolina field hockey team (9-6, 3-2 ACC) lost a heartbreaker against the No. 4 Louisville Cardinals (14-2, 5-0 ACC).
The game started off slow, as UNC first-year Kennedy Cliggett took the first shot of the game in the 9th minute, but Louisville’s goalkeeper Mila de Kuijer blocked it. The Cardinals offense was quiet in the first period, as the team took zero shots.
Action picked up in the second period. First-year Jasmina Smolenaars drove in along the end line and got a shot on goal in the first minute of the second period; however, de Kuijer saved it with her foot and the Louisville defense hit the ball out of the shooting circle. In the 20th minute, UNC first-year goalkeeper Abigail Taylor made a save falling backwards off a Louisville penalty corner attempt. Louisville was awarded a second penalty corner after the game’s only video review, but Taylor made another save and the ball was cleared.
UNC sophomore Katie Dixon got a great chance to score the game’s first goal in the 29th minute when the ball was crossed in the air into the shooting circle but the ball went right over the cage, resulting in a scoreless halftime score.
In the 38th minute, Dixon took a shot on the ground from right inside the shooting circle. The ball landed on Cliggett's stick, as she then whipped the ball into the cage for the Tar Heels first goal of the game. Taylor made an amazing diving save for UNC toward the end of the third period, securing the 1-0 lead going into the fourth.
One minute into fourth period, Cardinals midfielder Aimee Plumb converted on a penalty corner shot. In the 53rd minute, Taylor made a great save with her foot off another Louisville penalty corner attempt; however, the ball landed right in front of Louisville forward Mattie Tabor, who was able to score the second attempt to take a 2-1 lead.
With things looking bleak for UNC with two minutes left in the game, forward Hannah Griggs found the ball on her stick from a cross by senior Cassie Sumfest and scored the equalizer to force overtime.
In what looked to be a scoreless overtime period, the Tar Heels lost the ball in the midfield with less than a minute left. With only five seconds left in the period, a goal was scored by Louisville's Plumb, her second goal of the game and the game-winner.
Who stood out?
UNC’s Kennedy Cliggett had two shots on goal, and one that found its way into the cage. Additionally, UNC’s Hannah Griggs scored the goal that sent the game into extra time.
When was it decided?
The game didn’t reach a conclusion until there were mere seconds left on the game clock in the first overtime period. Aimee Plumb’s sudden-death goal for Louisville was the decider and left a stinging feeling for the Tar Heels.
Why does it matter?
UNC and Louisville are conference rivals and the result will affect seeding for the 2021 ACC Championship, which begins in less than two weeks. The Tar Heels now lead their all-time series against Louisville 10-6.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to Charlottesville to play the No. 16 Virginia Cavaliers next Friday at 5 p.m. in the final game of UNC's regular season, which is when UNC hopes it can get back star senior forward Erin Matson, who has missed the last three games with a hand injury.
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