North Carolina field hockey coach Karen Shelton said her team has about five to seven different penalty corner plays it likes to throw at opponents.
Some are "higher-percentage", while some "are a little riskier,” she said.
There are even a few that the veteran coach still has hidden up her sleeve — yet the Tar Heels were forced to put many on display in their 2-0 win over No. 15 Wake Forest on Friday.
"It’s a little bit of trial and error and Wake has to try and guess what we’re going to throw at them," she said. "They might have to alter their defense a little bit.”
However, despite UNC's fake-out plays, evasive passes and powerful slap shots, the Demon Deacons' penalty corner defense remained notably stout.
Throughout the contest, North Carolina failed to capitalize on seven earned penalty corners. A week removed from a season-low one penalty corner earned in their 3-0 victory over Louisville, it’s clear that this is an area of concern for the soon-to-be top-ranked Tar Heels.
While North Carolina entered Friday’s match ranked in the top three nationally in goals and points per game, the Tar Heels were tied for 30th in the country in average penalty corners earned.
While Shelton said that seven corners were a “reasonable amount,” she admitted that the team should “get a couple (of goals) out of that.”
“We talk about how many times we entered the circle,” Shelton said. “And when we enter it, we want 50 percent of that time to either be a shot on goal, a penalty corner or a goal. And we weren’t reaching that number.”