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UNC field hockey picks up two wins over Penn and Princeton in ACC-Ivy Challenge

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UNC field hockey graduate midfielder/forward Pleun Lammers (30) going after the ball during an ACC-Ivy Challenge match against Princeton University on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Tar Heels won 2-1 in overtime. Photo Courtesy of Michael Nance.

The No. 1 North Carolina field hockey team (3-1, 0-0 ACC) traveled to Philadelphia for the ACC-Ivy Challenge. The weekend series featured wins against the University of Pennsylvania (0-1, 0-0 Ivy) on Friday and No. 10 Princeton University (0-2, 0-0 Ivy) on Sunday.

Charly Bruder shines in 4-0 win against Penn

Following last week’s loss to Iowa, the Tar Heels wasted no time in ramping up the intensity against the Quakers.

On Friday, first-year forward Charly Bruder served as UNC’s spark plug, recording a goal off a penalty corner less than three minutes into the game. The goal was Bruder’s career first, scored less than 30 miles from her hometown of Malvern, Pa., and she went on to add another goal to help carry the Tar Heels to a 4-0 victory over Penn.

Bruder opted to forego the second semester of her senior year of high school, choosing instead to enroll early at North Carolina in January. Grayshirting in the spring allowed her to get more comfortable with what college classes are like, the campus and just being a first-year in general. Bruder was also able to further develop her hockey skills that spring, which set her up for success on the pitch this fall. 

“There was no doubt in anybody's mind that she would make an impact this fall just coming in as a normal freshman,” UNC head coach Erin Matson said. “But then, when it was decided that she was a grayshirt and she was able to come in January, it was just that much better.”

Bruder’s performance on Friday was backed up by a stout North Carolina defense, which prevented Penn from registering a single shot during the first half and held the Quakers to just three shots for the game.

“We take pride in that,” Matson said. “It's part of Carolina field hockey, defending from the front and attacking from the back.”

2-1 victory against Princeton decided in overtime

Sunday’s matchup against Princeton started off slow for the Tar Heels, with Princeton senior forward Bridget Murphy recording a goal in the opening five minutes to put the Tigers up 1-0. 

UNC continued to struggle offensively throughout the first three periods, failing to record a goal despite outnumbering Princeton in shots, 12-5. But, eventually, North Carolina was able to battle back for a 2-1 overtime victory thanks to a fourth-period goal from sophomore midfielder Ryleigh Heck and a deciding penalty stroke from junior midfielder Lisa Slinkert.

“Being down a goal, we handled it very well. We stuck together.” Matson said. “There was never a moment of doubt or it crossed someone’s mind that we were going to lose the game."

After an early deficit, the Tar Heels finally found success late in the game. On UNC’s fifth consecutive penalty corner of the final quarter, Heck tied the game up 1-1.

In sudden death overtime, the Tar Heels kept up the same intensity and pressure, and their efforts were rewarded with a penalty stroke after a shot from Heck was saved illegally. Slinkert’s subsequent penalty stroke goal handed UNC its 2-1 victory.

“[Slinkert] earned the spot to get out there today and did a good job of putting it away when it mattered,” Matson said.

With two more wins under their belts, the Tar Heels will travel to Norfolk, Va., on Sunday to face Old Dominion at noon. 

“It was great to see them have that confidence and belief in themselves to just do what they do best,” Matson said. “To go out and play, stick together, work for each other, and eventually the stuff will start falling our way.”


@dthsports |

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