Chapel Hill, N.C.
After a scoreless start, both teams managed to score, resulting in a 2-1 win for the No. 4 North Carolina field hockey team against No. 2 Duke at Karen Shelton Stadium on Friday evening, concluding the regular season.
After a 47-minute long defensive match, Duke managed to score, sparking a four-minute burst of offense. UNC responded just 26 seconds later, and then they were able to score again less than three minutes after that, securing the win in the rivalry game.
The recent win for Carolina indicates that both teams have ended their Atlantic Coast Conference games with a record of 5-1 and will co-champion the regular season. Due to their victory over the other team, UNC has earned the first seed and a bye in the upcoming ACC Tournament, which will be held next week in Charlottesville, VA. The tournament begins on Tuesday and the Tar Heels will compete on Wednesday against the winner of the Syracuse-Virginia match in the semifinals.
Duke’s objective on a penalty corner during the 47th minute ended the tie and granted the Blue Devils a brief advantage of 1-0. However, Carolina, who previously experienced a 2-0 lead at halftime slip away in their last game against Virginia, regrouped and continued to play. With a quick transition, senior Paityn Wirth advanced into the circle and took a shot from the left side of the arc. Duke’s goalkeeper Piper Hampsch made the save, but the ball bounced out to freshman Sanne Hak at the far post. Hak capitalized on the rebound and scored the equalizer in the 48th minute of the match.
After slightly more than three minutes, newcomer Charly Bruder maneuvered past a defender and passed a ball towards the goal from the center of the circle. It grazed off Wirth and another defender before landing at the feet of senior Katie Dixon. She quickly turned and fired the ball into the goal, ultimately securing the win for her team.
After the game, the Tar Heels extended their festivities by holding a Senior Night ceremony to recognize six graduating seniors and two graduate students.
According to UNC coach Erin Matson, the team needed a game like this for various reasons, such as motivation and the experience of playing against senior players. However, the main reason was the team’s strong belief in themselves and their ability to control the majority of the game. Matson praised the team’s performance, stating that they stuck to the gameplan and showed significant growth both on and off the field throughout the year. Despite Duke’s high energy and threatening play style, UNC was able to handle and even surpass it, matching their speed and ultimately dominating the game.
On Friday night, 1,356 people attended the UNC event, making it the second-largest turnout of the season. The only event with a larger crowd was the season opener in August, which had a capacity crowd of 1,500.
The final score was 4 for UNC and 2 for Duke, with UNC emerging as the winner.
In the game, DU’s Charlie van Oirschot scored at 46 minutes and 49 seconds with an assist from Macy Szukics. UNC’s Sanne Hak scored at 47 minutes and 15 seconds, followed by Katie Dixon with an assist from Charly Bruder at 50 minutes and 33 seconds.
Shots: UNC 15 (3/2/3/7), DU 7 (1/1/1/4)
Penalty corners were awarded 8 times to the University of North Carolina, with 4 resulting in a goal, 0 saved, 2 missed, and 2 blocked. The University of Denver received 6 penalty corners, scoring 1 goal, saving 1, missing 1, and having 3 blocked.
The goalkeeper for UNC, Maddie Kahn, saved 3 attempts in 60 minutes, allowing 1 goal. The goalkeeper for DU, Piper Hampsch, saved 3 attempts in 56 minutes and 39 seconds, allowing 2 goals. The team as a whole allowed a goal at the 3 minute and 21 second mark.
Macy Szukics made one defensive save, marked as DU 1.
Records: University of North Carolina 12 wins and 3 losses with a 5-1 record in the ACC, Duke with 14 wins and 3 losses and also a 5-1 record.