The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 8th

No. 1 UNC field hockey earns 3-0 shutout win over No. 12 Connecticut

UNC senior forward Erin Matson (1) protects the ball during the Tar Heels' match against Wake Forest on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at Karen Shelton Stadium.
Buy Photos UNC senior forward Erin Matson (1) protects the ball during the Tar Heels' match against Wake Forest on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at Karen Shelton Stadium.

Outshooting the UConn Huskies (8-4, 3-1 Big East), 23-8, the UNC field hockey team (11-0, 3-0 ACC) added another shutout win to its undefeated record with a 3-0 victory.

What happened?

Senior forward Erin Matson opened up the scoring early for UNC, rocketing the ball clean past the goalie’s left side and into the net for a first quarter lead. 

North Carolina’s season-long strength has been stifling opponent corner opportunities, and it did so in the second quarter, stopping three consecutive UConn corners. Sophomore goalkeeper Abigail Taylor’s three saves — all made in the second quarter — tied her season-high from two days prior at Boston College. 

On the offensive end, the Tar Heels’ onslaught in the first half amassed 12 shots on the UConn defense. As UNC put up 11 more shots in the second half, it pushed UConn’s keeper, Cheyenne Sprecher, to 12 saves on the afternoon, making her the Huskies' all-time saves leader. 

In the fourth quarter, Matson made yet another statement with a goal off a penalty stroke to improve the score, 2-0. Less than three minutes later, first-year forward and midfielder Ashley Sessa drove the ball down to the center of the circle and shot it. As the ball rebounded off of Sprecher’s pads towards the right side of the net, first-year forward and midfielder Ryleigh Heck tapped it in for the final goal of the afternoon with UNC leading 3-0.

Who stood out? 

With 10 shots and two goals, Matson is now tied for the ACC career scoring mark with 306 points.

Heck was also an offensive threat, gaining career bests with four shots and three shots on goal.

When was it decided?

With the game-winning shot scored just six minutes into regulation, the Tar Heel defense needed to step up and halt any UConn opportunities in the circle. Shutting down corner opportunities, maintaining possession with fast-paced play and sealing the win with two more goals in the fourth quarter was what sent the Tar Heels cruising home with an untarnished record.

Why does it matter?

UNC’s contest against UConn caps the Tar Heels’ 11-0 win streak and sixth shutout of the season. This matchup almost marks the end of away games for the team; after playing six of its last seven games on the road, UNC will play either on its home turf or in Durham for the remainder of the regular season.

When do they play next?

North Carolina will compete next against Syracuse in Karen Shelton Stadium on Friday at 3 p.m.


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