Overflow Crowd Cheers Field Hockey To 2-0 Win

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Behind two second-half goals by the senior Erin Matson, the second-ranked North Carolina field hockey team beat No. 15 Wake Forest 2-0 Friday afternoon to improve to 8-0 on the season and 2-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference action. Playing at Karen Shelton Stadium in front of an overflow crowd of more than 1,100, the Tar Heels earned their fifth-consecutive shutout, the longest streak without allowing a goal since the 2011 season.

“I’m delighted with the win and our second ACC shutout,” UNC coach Karen Shelton said. “They’re not easy to come by and I’m really pleased with our team. I thought it was a fantastic team effort and credit to Wake Forest – I thought they played superbly. They gave us trouble getting out of the back and made us play well together.”

Next up is a road game at Liberty on Oct. 2. UNC’s next plays at home on Oct. 14 against Syracuse.

Friday, on a cool and sunny afternoon on their home turf, the Tar Heels led 7-2 in shots before halftime but couldn’t get one to fall. Wake Forest’s Ellie Todd made five saves over the first two quarters to keep UNC off the board.

Matson scored what would prove to be the game winner just over five minutes into the third quarter. Midfielder Jasmina Smolenaars fed her the ball just outside the circle on the left side. Matson fought through a defender to get into the circle then dribbled midway to the cage before rolling a shot past Todd, who had come out to defend on the play.

With just under five minutes to play in the game, senior Meredith Sholder took control of the ball in the midfield and passed it into the circle to the sophomore Lisa Slinkert. Slinkert crossed it to Matson, who slid to knock the ball in for a 2-0 lead and a bit of breathing room for the Tar Heels.

UNC held a 19-5 advantage in shots, with 14 of them on goal. Kylie Walbert and Abigail Taylor split time in the cage for Carolina, with Taylor making two saves in the fourth quarter to preserve the shutout. Todd made 12 saves for the Demon Deacons, including six in the third quarter when Carolina held a 9-0 advantage in shots.

The Tar Heels played in front of one of the largest crowds ever Karen Shelton Stadium, where UNC is now 44-2 dating back to the beginning of the 2018 season. Fans filled the stands and spilled out into the grassy areas on either side, loudly cheering on the Tar Heels and responding when the UNC bench shouted “Tar!”

“Amazing crowd today,” Shelton said. “And the fans were into it – they were paying attention and they oohed and aahed when we had nice plays. The interaction between the crowd and our bench was awesome and that helps – it gives us energy and it makes us play better. So credit to the crowd and the fans that came out today.”

No. 2 North Carolina 2, no. 15 Wake Forest 0
Scoring: UNC – Erin Matson, 35:19; UNC – Matson (Lisa Slinkert), 55:07
shots: UNC 19 (3/4/9/30, WFU 5 (1/1/0/3)
Penalty corners: UNC 7 (1/2/3/1), WFU 2 (0/0/0/2)
Goalkeeper saves: UNC 2 (Kylie Walbert30:00, 0 goals allowed, 0 saves; Abigail Taylor30:00, 0 goals allowed, 2 saves), WFU 12 (Ellie Todd, 60:00, 2 goals allowed, 12 saves)
Records: UNC 8-0 (2-0 ACC), Wake Forest 5-3 (0-1 ACC)

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