🏆 UNC WINS 11TH PROGRAM TITLE
In a double-overtime penalty shootout, the Tar Heels have done it, beating the Northwestern Wildcats 2-1.
Third-period chaos knotted this game at one, with freshman Charly Bruder opening up scoring on a UNC penalty corner, followed by Peyton Halsey's penalty stroke goal just 10 minutes later. The teams skirmished through two overtimes and a penalty shootout before a winner was crowned. In the second round of the shootout, Halsey missed the first shot, followed by UNC's Ryleigh Heck, who — with her back to the goal — dribbled the ball around GK Annabel Skubisz and shot it to the right side for the 'chip.
North Carolina out-shot Northwestern 14-8, but drew only four corners to the Wildcats' six. Goaltenders Maddie Kahn and Annabel Skubisz made three and five respective saves, and performed beautifully in the cage for their teams.
In her first year at the helm of the UNC field hockey program, Erin Matson is believed to be the youngest college head coach to win a national championship. The Tar Heels finished 18-3 (5-1 ACC) on the season and won their sixth consecutive ACC title en route to their 11th program national championship; their fifth in six years.
First shootout results 🏑
UNC begins, shooters alternate
Ryleigh Heck: MADE
Peyton Halsey: MADE
Jasmina Smolenaars: MISS
Lauren Wadas: MADE
Charly Bruder: MISS
Lindsey Frank: MISS
Katie Dixon: MADE
Olivia Bent-Cole: MISS
Sanne Hak: MISS
Maddie Kahn: MISS
Penalty shootout ahead 🚧
The teams couldn't manage an advantage in 2OT, and thus, a penalty shootout will commence. Each team gets five players to attempt strokes (given eight seconds to shoot).
Blocked UNC stroke, onto 2OT 👉🏼
Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, Annabel Skubisz, knocked away Ryleigh Heck's penalty stroke attempt as the teams play another round of extras. If one team doesn't score in this period, the game will go to a shootout.
🗣️ SCOOOOOOOOOOOB— Northwestern Field Hockey (@NUFHCats) November 19, 2023
WE PLAY ON. pic.twitter.com/QCdnxhmENe
We're headed to OT 👋🏼
A corner for each program in the fourth but two failed attempts to score sends this game to sudden victory. This will be the first overtime battle of the 2023 tournament. UNC is 1-2 in extras this season, whereas Northwestern is 3-0.
🙀 'Cat comeback
A corner drawn by Olivia Bent-Cole resulted in a shot stopped by UNC defender Grace Pottebaum's body, which called for a Northwestern penalty stroke. Previously 4-4 on strokes this season, Peyton Halsey sent the ball past Maddie Kahn into left side of the cage for the goal. The teams are now tied 1-1 with less than one minute in the third.
PEYTON WITH THE EQUALIZER! pic.twitter.com/1AH6AGCBQ0— Northwestern Field Hockey (@NUFHCats) November 19, 2023
📣 Tar Heels ahead 1-0
The Tar Heels converted on their first corner opportunity of the game, drawn at 12:37 in the third. Following the insert, first-year Charly Bruder fired one past goaltender Annabel Skubisz, who laid out in attempt to suffocate the shot. This goal was Bruder's 15th of the season; UNC leads 1-0.
Scoreless at the half 🙅🏼♀️
The Wildcats and Tar Heels remained calm under the press as the stalemate continued.
North Carolina put up four more shots in the second, two battered by forward Ryleigh Heck. In her first shot, Heck attempted a crafty air dribble shot, which was immediately struck down by the stick of Ilse Tromp at the goal line.
Ilse are you KIDDING? 🤯 pic.twitter.com/f2EIb3JxeM— Northwestern Field Hockey (@NUFHCats) November 19, 2023
The Wildcats drew a corner with .7 seconds remaining in the half but couldn't capitalize, finishing the half still locked at 0 with Carolina.
🪢 Knotted at 0 after the first
Despite maintaining the possession for the majority of the period, the North Carolina offense was silenced by the Northwestern press. The sole corner in the quarter was drawn by NU in the first minute of the match, and the shot missed just wide right. UNC shot two other times, but to no avail. The Wildcats went down to 10 players in the final 30 seconds of the period as Lauren Wadas drew a green card.
And we're off 🛫
Opening passback was at 1:30 p.m. as North Carolina and Northwestern battle for the 2023 championship. Here are today's starting lineups:
- Charly Bruder
- Sanne Hak
- Paityn Wirth
- Romea Riccardo
- Ryleigh Heck
- Katie Dixon
- Grace Pottebaum
- Sietske Brüning
- Jasmina Smolenaars
- Maddie Kahn
- Lauren Wadas
- Olivia Bent-Cole
- Peyton Halsey
- Ilse Tromp
- Greta Hinke
- Chloe Relford
- Katie Jones
- Lauren Hunter
- Alia Marshall
- Lindsey Frank
- Annabel Skubisz
↩️ Rematch: UNC vs. Northwestern in national final
The 2023 DI field hockey national final is a carbon copy of last year's championship; No. 1 seed UNC versus No. 2 seed Northwestern. And let me tell you, the 2022 championship came down to the wire — Northwestern tied the score 1-1 with less than two minutes remaining, then Erin Matson scored the game-winner 39 seconds later to grant UNC its fourth national title in five years.
Now, this year's ACC and Big Ten field hockey champions have undergone substantial changes since they've last met. Let's examine their last clash and then delve into what they each bring to the table.
Jumping back a year in time, the Tar Heels and Wildcats met in Storrs, Connecticut for last year's national championship. The Wildcats were the 2021 reigning champs, having knocked Carolina — who had won the previous three championships — out in the 2021 quarterfinals.
Similarities between the 2022 and 2023 squads?
On Northwestern's side, freshmen Olivia Bent-Cole and Ilse Tromp have made all the difference for the Wildcats in place of last year’s top scorer, Kayla Blas. The two have both scored double-digit goals this year alongside grad student Peyton Halsey; the three have combined for 33 goals on the season. The scoring triumvirate, teamed up with Big Ten Tournament MVP goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz, have escorted NU to the top of the nation in scoring margin at 2.27 (63 goals scored, 13 allowed). After falling to Louisville in its season opener, Northwestern has won 20 consecutive contests, and looks to keep steamrolling in the natty.
For the Tar Heels, the most notable losses are midfielder Meredith Sholder and, of course, leading scorer and three-time Honda Sport Award-winner, Erin Matson. As the newly-appointed head coach, Matson's been tasked with replacing herself in the Tar Heel attack this year, and she's deployed quite the artillery in freshmen Charly Bruder and Sanne Hak. Bruder and sophomore Ryleigh Heck have commandeered the Tar Heel scoring, combining for 27 goals this year and ranking No. 2 and No. 4 in the conference for goals scored, respectively. The Tar Heels have also been able to lean on veterans Romea Riccardo and Paityn Wirth to bring maturity to the squad. Riccardo paces the Tar Heel defense, playing a large role in corner defense and stick stops in corner offense. A utility player, Wirth has nine assists on the year and 17 shots on goal.
364 days earlier...
Peering at the lines of last year’s championship, UNC out-shot NU 15-2 and out-cornered the Wildcats 5-1 — Northwestern didn’t even earn its first corner until the fourth period. UNC scored one off the stick of Heck before the half, and it took 41 minutes for Northwestern to equalize… Then less than a minute for UNC to respond with the dagger. None of these goals came from penalty corners, which are each of these teams’ scoring specialty.
If this year's game is anything like last year's... We'll see who strikes first and who can capitalize in last-minute scenarios. Threading a ball through either of these teams' corner defense is a tall task, so ball-minding inside the circle will be crucial to determine which program edges out the other.
🤯 Wildcats win barnburner to advance
Northwestern outlasted Duke in the final period to advance to its third title game in three seasons.
The teams traded goals before a fourth-quarter missile by Regan Cornelius shut down the weary Blue Devil defense. Duke cage-minder Piper Hampsch got pulled in the final five minutes to grant the Blue Devils an extra field player; Duke fought it out until the dwindling moments of the semifinal, almost drawing a corner — and a free shot to possibly tie the game — before a NU referral took the call back.
The Wildcats out-shot the Blue Devils 20-4 and drew 10 corners to Duke's 1 (Duke previously allowed 4.05 corners/game). Northwestern extends its win streak to 20 consecutive games and hopes to tack on the program's second national title on Sunday.
😱 Northwestern takes the advantage
With less than 13 minutes left in regulation, Wildcat Olivia Bent-Cole knocked the ball loose and drove it down to Northwestern's shooting third, which she threaded to Regan Cornelius in the circle for the dagger. Northwestern leads, 2-1.
😈 Tie game
The Blue Devils squeeze one by Anna Skubisz with a firey attack. Outside of the circle, Josephine Veen dribbled the ball and shot it toward the center of the goal, which was tipped by the stick of Hannah Miller for the equalizer. This was Duke's first shot on goal today.
The teams are tied 1-1 halfway through the third of the semifinal.
GOAL DUKE!!!— Duke Field Hockey (@DukeFH) November 17, 2023
Hannah got a stick on it and what a ball in by Meg!
Duke 1, NU 1 pic.twitter.com/vcvyFyAOEV
😼 'Cats capture goal by half
Northwestern drew five more corners during second, and it didn't take long for the 'Cats to capitalize.
Receiving the insert on Northwestern's first earned corner of the period, Ilse Tromp used a textbook drag flick to get the ball airborne, which made brief contact with Piper Hampsch's pads before landing in the net to score. Northwestern leads at the break, 1-0.
Duke has allowed 4.05 corners this season, and Northwestern has already racked up almost double that total (7) today.
It never gets old 🤩 pic.twitter.com/rzYJaWSlqW— Northwestern Field Hockey (@NUFHCats) November 17, 2023