CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Senior Elizabeth Stephens scored 27 seconds into the second overtime period to give the North Carolina field hockey team a 1-0 win against visiting Duke Saturday at Francis E. Henry Stadium. The second-ranked Tar Heels improved to 8-1 on the year and 1-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference with the win in their ACC opener. Duke, ranked No. 9, fell to 5-4 overall and 1-1 in ACC play.
The victory gives UNC a point in the Battle of the Blues, presented by Continental Tire, which is the annual competition between 23 varsity sports fielded by both schools.
“I’m just delighted to come away with a victory against a very strong Duke team, especially defensively,” UNC coach Karen Shelton said. “I thought it was a defensive battle by both teams today and I’m so proud that we really didn’t allow a clear shot on goal. It was a great defensive effort on our part, but a great defensive effort on their part as well. “
The teams battled through 85 minutes of scoreless play, contested mostly in a steady rain, before Stephens’ goal gave the Tar Heels the victory. North Carolina started the second of the 15-minute, seven-on-seven overtime periods a player down after junior Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany received a yellow card late in the first period and had to sit for five minutes. So Carolina began play with just six players — five in the field and goalkeeper Sassi Ammer.
“When we were man-down, we knew we only had 30 seconds or so before our last player could come in, so we wanted to maintain possession,” said Stephens, a forward from St. Louis who serves as the team’s vice-captain. “But when we saw our opportunity we took it and were able to translate that. It feels very good to score a goal man-down in the second overtime. It’s pretty awesome.”
As the second overtime began, the Tar Heels quickly got the ball into scoring territory, where junior Kelsey Kolojejchick drove the right baseline and centered a pass into the middle of the circle. Senior Katelyn Falgowski dove to deflect it toward the goal, where Stephens got her stick on it and took a shot that was saved by Duke keeper Samantha Nelson. Stephens gathered the rebound and shot again from the left side of the cage, this time getting it past Nelson, who had made five saves on the day.
UNC had 15 shots to five by Duke and six corners to Duke’s three. The game was the second overtime contest of the season for North Carolina and the third for Duke. The Tar Heels are now 2-0 in overtime, with the other win coming against Wake Forest, and the Blue Devils are 0-3.