The No. 1 North Carolina field hockey team defeated William & Mary, 6-1, in the first round of the NCAA Field Hockey Championship.
The Tar Heels recognized that no competition in the tournament will be easy, so they have practiced as if every scrimmage was against a top opponent. This strategy, nonetheless, seemed to execute seamlessly.
“When the tournament time comes around, we know what we have to do,” senior forward Paityn Wirth said. “We all have the same goal, so it's just to go out there every day and prepare for the next game and play against the biggest one.”
The Tribe placed intense defensive pressure on the Tar Heels during the first five minutes of the matchup. An unsuccessful corner and a dangerous hit summarized the first quarter for the Tar Heels, as none of their nine shots found the cage. However, UNC held William & Mary to zero shots and the first frame ended scoreless for both teams.
The second period, however, started with a bang for the Tar Heels. First-year forward Charly Bruder broke the scoreless curse with a high shot from the top of the crease assisted by graduate midfielder Pleun Lammers. UNC maintained their offensive pressure and earned four penalty corners in eight minutes. The first three were unsuccessful, but senior midfielder Katie Dixon found the back of the cage on the fourth attempt with just under two minutes remaining in the first half. Dixon deflected a shot from junior midfielder Jasmina Smolenaars and cruised the ball past the right side of the goalie. The Tar Heels went into halftime with a 2-0 advantage over the Tribe and a 20-0 shot differential.