The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday January 24th

No. 3 UNC field hockey defeats No. 6 Wake Forest 3-2, moves on to ACC semifinals

UNC senior forward Erin Matson (1) takes a breath between plays during the third quarter of the Tar Heels' Oct. 8 home game against the Duke Blue Devils. UNC won 4-1.
Buy Photos UNC senior forward Erin Matson (1) takes a breath between plays during the third quarter of the Tar Heels' Oct. 8 home game against the Duke Blue Devils. UNC won 4-1.

No. 3 UNC field hockey (11-6, 4-2 ACC) defeated No. 6 Wake Forest (7-10, 1-5 ACC) 3-2 in the ACC quarterfinal to advance to the semifinals of the ACC championship.

What happened?

UNC got an early opportunity to score after being awarded a penalty corner within the first two minutes. Senior forward Erin Matson received the pass off the corner and drove into the shooting circle, but the ball was stolen by a Wake Forest defender. Just a minute later, Wake Forest midfielder Meike Lanckohr crossed the ball right in front of the cage, causing UNC goalkeeper Abigail Taylor to come out of position in order to clear the ball. Wake Forest forward Maggie Dickman, however, got to the ball first and scored the game’s first goal to put Wake Forest up 1-0. 

It didn’t long for the Tar Heels to score the equalizer. In the 26th minute, Matson got the ball on a fast break and scored a goal after showcasing her stick work on two Wake Forest defenders. First-year midfielder Jasmina Smolenaars was shown a green card in the 28th minute, bringing the Tar Heels down to 10 players for two minutes. On the power play, Wake Forest midfielder Ashley Hart found the ball right inside the shooting circle and scored on a bank-handed shot that whizzed right past Taylor, putting the Demon Deacons up 2-1 at halftime.

The Tar Heels got two penalty corners early in the third period. On the second corner, Smolenaars appeared to score a goal, but it was overturned after further review. Nevertheless, North Carolina had a prime chance to knot the game up when it were awarded three consecutive penalty corners in the 43rd minute. Yet, the Wake Forest defense stayed strong and the score stayed at 2-1 going into the fourth period.

After a couple of great scoring opportunities for the Tar Heels early in the final period, Matson took the ball herself into the shooting circle and hit the ball hard on target with her back-hand and scored her second equalizer of the night. Both teams were shown a green card toward the end of the fourth period, however neither team was able to capitalize. With less than a minute left in regulation, UNC head coach Karen Shelton was shown a red card for misconduct by the team bench and was ejected from the game.

Each team was reduced to seven players for overtime and the Tar Heels had to play the remainder of the game without their renowned head coach. In the 64th minute, Matson forced a penalty corner after a Wake Forest defender intentionally hit the ball over the end line. Matson dribbled the ball into the shooting circle and got tripped by a Wake Forest defender, resulting in another penalty corner. On the second corner, Matson received the ball and drew two defenders, leaving UNC’s midfielder Cassie Sumfest wide open at the top of the circle. 

Matson found Sumfest, who took a shot in the air that sailed past Wake Forest goalkeeper Tori Glaister to win the game.

Who stood out? 

UNC’s Erin Matson brought the team back into the game twice with her two equalizing goals and had four total shots on goal. In addition, Matson had the assist on the game-winner by UNC’s Cassie Sumfest who had two shots on goal.

When was it decided?

The game didn’t reach a conclusion until five minutes into the first overtime period when Sumfest rocketed in the winning goal, sending Wake Forest home and keeping their ACC Championship hopes alive.

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels needed to secure a win to move onto the ACC semifinals and still have a chance of winning the ACC Championship for the fifth year in a row.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will continue their stay in Syracuse to play in the ACC semifinals on Friday at 3:30 p.m. against the host team, the No. 2 Syracuse Orange.

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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