Down to six players and a goalie for the second round of overtime, sophomore forward Ryleigh Heck, encircled by four Liberty defenders, had the ball tapped away at the top of the circle. Heck, and many of her teammates, held up their arms, asking for a foul for an illegal back stick hit.
But, the Flames didn’t flinch, and play didn’t stop.
Liberty midfielder Martu Cian charged into UNC territory, dribbled around five Tar Heels and launched the ball into the left corner of the cage.
The Flames won, 2-1. Game over.
“We can never have a defensive break like that [again],” senior midfielder Katie Dixon said. “We can’t let those moments of mental lapse get to us.”
But, while it took less than 20 seconds for the No. 1 North Carolina field hockey team to lose control of Sunday’s overtime against No. 10 Liberty, the Tar Heels also had plenty of opportunities to win. North Carolina drew a season-high 12 penalty corners throughout Sunday’s match but failed to capitalize on a single one.
When UNC's defense collapsed in the 73rd minute, and Liberty's Cian punched the game-winning shot into the goal, Dixon said the team was emotional.