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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 2 UNC field hockey defeats Old Dominion, 2-1, with goals from Wirth and Bruder

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UNC senior forward Paityn Wirth (10) listens to coaching from head coach Erin Matson during the exhibition field hockey match against Duke at Karen Shelton Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. UNC won 5-3.

The No. 2 UNC field hockey team (4-1, 0-0 ACC) defeated Old Dominion (2-3, 0-0 Big East) on Sunday with a final score of 2-1.

The Tar Heels came out swinging and senior forward Paityn Wirth got them on the board first, finding the back of the net early in the first quarter. 

“I think we came out with a lot of energy and scored early which is what we talked about going into the game,” head coach Erin Matson said. “I think we can be better with just maintaining that energy for an entire 60 minutes.”

The remainder of the first quarter was stagnant for both teams, as neither team got a shot off after Wirth’s goal.

That ended in the action-packed second quarter, which saw both Old Dominion and North Carolina record six shots and four shots on goal. However, neither team could find the back of the net, and the Tar Heels went into halftime with a 1-0 lead. 

UNC came out firing in the third quarter as the Tar Heels earned three shots and two penalty corners in the first nine minutes. However, North Carolina was still unable to convert. Despite their six shots and four penalty corners in the period, the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Tar Heels going into the final period.

Going into the final quarter of play, the Tar Heels were looking to expand their lead. Only 99 seconds into the period, first-year forward Charly Bruder did just that. Sophomore midfielder Ryleigh Heck found an opening, sent the ball into the circle, and Bruder deflected it into the far side of the net. UNC took a 2-0 lead with just over 13 minutes to play. 

That lead, however, did not last long. Old Dominion earned two penalty corners within 57 seconds and it found success on the second attempt. Junior midfielder Frederique Zandbergen found the back of the net to bring the Monarchs within one goal.

This win gives the Tar Heels their third consecutive win after their loss to Iowa earlier this season. They showed their capability to make second-half adjustments, as they had five penalty corners in the third and fourth quarters after only two in the first half.

“Our corners have been a big focus,” Matson said. “We put a lot of time and energy into them, we’re seeing improvement there throughout the season.”

Wirth and Bruder had the only goals for the Tar Heels in their matchup against the Monarchs and graduate goalkeeper Maddie Kahn racked up seven saves.

The Tar Heels will return to action on Friday when they face Louisville at Karen Shelton Stadium at 3 p.m. for their first conference game of the regular season.

“It’s been fun to watch her (Kahn) improve just in the short period of time and she’ll continue to do so,” Matson said. “She made a couple great saves today, she’s made a couple great saves in the games prior.”

@j_kidd03

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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