Daniel Price Assistant Sports Editor
It's never easy being No. 1. Just ask the 2008 North Carolina field hockey team. Coming off an undefeated national championship 2007 season and being tabbed as the nation's best in the preseason the team learned how hard it is to be at the top.
The post again dominated the stat line from the onset for the North Carolina women's basketball team in its 102-68 demolition of Kennesaw State. Jessica Breland paced the team with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds with just one missed shot — but what a glorious missed shot it was.
With Tyler Hansbrough out of the lineup Saturday Tar Heel veteran Deon Thompson stepped up to score 17 points and grab seven rebounds but it was a couple of rookies who stole the show in the paint. The Tar Heel freshmen duo of Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller combined to score 28 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
At 3:37 p.m. Saturday North Carolina kicker Jay Wooten booted the Tar Heels' opening kickoff in College Park Md. At 4 p.m. back in Chapel Hill the basketball team opened its season against the Penn Quakers in front of a not-quite-full Smith Center. But it wasn't UNC's fault.
Last season one word characterized the North Carolina field hockey team: Dominance.This year one word can't do it. It takes 23 — one for each member of the team.Soon after the squad lost its third game of the season — and its best player Danielle Forword to a torn ACL — on Oct. 10 team leaders called a players-only meeting.
DURHAM — Talk about taking a team out of its comfort zone. That is just what third-seeded Wake Forest did to the second-seeded North Carolina field hockey squad Friday night in the Tar Heels' 2-1 loss in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. To this point in the season UNC regularly would get two-assist goals from inside the crowded shooting circle taking full advantage of even the smallest of openings.
The North Carolina women's basketball team was never in any danger of dropping its opening exhibition game against Carson-Newman. But one look at the turnover column of the box score provides more than enough evidence that Tuesday's was UNC's first game in nearly six months.
In a society where ""student-athletes"" are often scoffed at" North Carolina is doing its part to debunk the stereotype of the dumb jock. In the NCAA's most recent graduation success rates report — which included data from the freshman classes of 1998-2001 — it found UNC to have a success rate of 85 percent" seven percentage points higher than the average for all Division I schools.
Never has a North Carolina field hockey team faced the scenario the 2008 squad is facing this week. The No. 6 Tar Heels are hoping to rebound from a 7-0 loss at the hands of the No. 1 Maryland Terrapins with a solid performance against Old Dominion and Davidson this weekend in UNC's last action before postseason play begins.
Something had to break. The North Carolina field hockey team faced off against No. 6 James Madison on Sunday in a clash of styles bound to produce some exciting play. JMU led the nation in goals against average at 0.79 heading into the game while the No. 7 Tar Heels ranked second in the ACC in goals scored with nearly four goals per contest.