Sept. 4, 2009

Courtesy of North Carolina

Final Stats

Photo Gallery

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Fourth-ranked North Carolina took a lead it wouldn't relinquish just before halftime and rolled on to a 4-1 win over visiting Wake Forest Friday evening in a top-five field hockey matchup at Francis E. Henry Stadium. UNC improved to 3-0 with the win, while the second-ranked Demon Deacons fell to 2-1. Senior Melanie Brill scored twice for the Tar Heels, who played their home opener in front of an over-capacity crowd of 1,231.

"We're very excited to get our first home victory," said UNC coach Karen Shelton. "Of course, the score didn't tell the tale of the game. I think it was much closer than the score indicated and Wake Forest for long stretches of the time controlled the play and really put pressure on us. So, I'm proud of our team for finding a way to win and I congratulate Wake Forest for playing so hard."

Each team converted on a first-half penalty stroke opportunity, with Brill sinking UNC's first try of the season in the 18th minute of play. The Demon Deacons answered with six minutes remaining in the half, as sophomore Kaitlin Piosa sent a shot into the upper left side of the goal past Carolina keeper Jackie Kintzer.

The Tar Heels grabbed the lead back just before the end of the first half when senior Illse Davids took a pass from freshman Kelsey Kolojejchick and sent a hard shot from the top of the circle into the right side of the net. The goal, with 1:25 to play before halftime, gave UNC a 2-1 advantage at the break.

Wake Forest dominated the statistics in the first half, with 10 shots to UNC's three and three corners to none by the Tar Heels. But in the second half, it was Carolina that came up with more opportunities, managing 10 shots to three by WFU.

UNC had only two penalty corners on the day, both in the second half, but was able to convert one to a goal. In the 50th minute of play, Brill picked up her second score of the evening after drilling a direct shot on a corner. Wake goalkeeper Julia Young was able to get a glove on the ball, but couldn't keep it from going into the net. Senior Riley Foster and junior Katelyn Falgowski assisted on the play.

Carolina's final goal came with just 17 seconds remaining, as senior Danielle Forword sent a pass to junior Elizabeth Drazdowski, who scored from the left side to capitalize on the fast-break opportunity.

The Tar Heels finished the game with 15 shots, while Wake had 13. The Demon Deacons' Young made three saves and the team got a defensive save from junior Liza Casella. Kintzer made seven saves for UNC.

"I think right now we're a better offensive team than we are a defensive team," Shelton said. "Thankfully our goalkeeper is playing exceptionally well and was one of the reasons that the game was the score it ended up being. I think that Wake Forest clearly could have scored two, maybe three goals in the first half, which may have really set us back. Instead Jackie was there to shore up the goal and give us a spark. I'm thankful that she's playing so well and played big tonight."

Also big Friday was the crowd, which approached the school record of 1,318, set in the 2007 home opener against Wake Forest. "It's exciting to have our student body come out," Shelton said. "They all want to be a part of Carolina athletics and certainly we consider them a 12th man. It's very nice to have the support that we do, and it helps make our kids understand what it means to wear the UNC jersey."

Next up for the Tar Heels is a trip to face Davidson on Tuesday evening. The Tar Heels' next home game is Sept. 16 against Radford, with action set to begin at 6 p.m.

No. 4 North Carolina 4, No. 2 Wake Forest 1
Scoring: UNC - Melanie Brill (penalty stroke), 17:32; WF ­- Kaitlin Piosa (penalty stroke), 28:57; UNC - Illse Davids (Kelsey Kolojejchick), 33:35; UNC - Brill (Riley Foster, Katelyn Falgowski), 49:5; UNC - Elizabeth Drazdowski (Danielle Forword), 69:43
Shots: UNC 15 (5/10); WFU 13 (10/3) Penalty corners: UNC 2 (0/2); WFU 5 (3/2)
Goalkeeper saves: UNC 7 (Jackie Kintzer, 7, 70:00); WFU 3 (Julia Young, 3, 70:00)
Records: UNC 3-0, WFU 2-1

UNC starters: Jackie Kintzer, Illse Davids, Riley Foster, Melanie Brill, Kelsey Kolojejchick, Elizabeth Drazdowski, Caitlin Van Sickle, Meghan Dawson, Danielle Forword, Katelyn Falgowski, Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany

UNC substitutes: Charlotte Verstraten, Taryn Gjurich, Katie Ardrey, Elizabeth Stephens, Jen Slocum