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The Daily Tar Heel

North Carolina field hockey team delivers No. 4 Louisville first defeat of season, 2-0

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UNC junior midfielder/forward Lisa Slinkert (19) attempts a shot during the UNC field hockey game against Louisville on Friday, Sept. 15, in the Karen Shelton Stadium.

The No. 2 UNC field hockey team (5-1, 1-0 ACC) defeated No. 4 Louisville (6-1, 0-1 ACC) 2-0 at Karen Shelton Stadium on Friday.

In a highly anticipated top-five matchup, the Louisville Cardinals traveled to Chapel Hill to try and knock off the Tar Heels. The last time Louisville visited Chapel Hill, the Cardinals knocked off North Carolina 3-2 in overtime back on October 22, 2021. That loss was the Tar Heels' last conference defeat at Karen Shelton Stadium. 

Just over seven minutes into the game, sophomore midfielder Ryleigh Heck drove the ball into the circle looking to strike first for the Tar Heels. As the ball bounced around, senior forward Paityn Wirth found the ball trying to put it in. After a deflection off a defender senior midfielder Kiersten Thomassey tapped it in for the goal, her second of the season.

Coming into the game, North Carolina averaged over 16 shots per match compared to Louisville's ACC-low 11 shots per match. Going into halftime, UNC had rifled off four shots and Louisville had just one.

“Defensively, attacking-wise [we] found the back of the net but I think we could have put a couple more away,” Matson said. “That is coming and we are seeing improvement.”

The teams combined for just one penalty corner in the first half, which came from the Cardinals.

As both teams headed to their locker rooms at halftime, the former Tar Heels took the field to be honored for alumni weekend. Former players filled the stands as their kids played on the grass hills.  

“To see all the support we have off the field, it’s amazing and it really shows how close-knit the Carolina family is,”  first-year forward Charly Bruder said.

The third quarter mirrored the first two in terms of defensive presence.  Off a penalty corner, Cardinals fifth-year midfielder Emilia Kaczmarczyk fired off a shot that was saved by graduate goalkeeper Maddie Kahn. Twenty seconds later, the Tar Heels earned a penalty corner but also failed to convert. 

As UNC looked to extend its lead in the fourth quarter, Tar Heels graduate midfielder Pleun Lammers looked to execute. Lammers inserted the ball on graduate goalkeeper Merlijn van der Vegt’s right side, senior back Romea Riccardo stopped the ball at the top of the circle and Bruder powered it home to put the Tar Heels up 2-0, closing the game.

“Charly is one of those players that you can always rely on to come through in big-time moments,” Thomassey said. “She definitely changed the momentum in the game.”

The Tar Heels take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. in Winston-Salem.

@RileyKennedy25

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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