Oct. 17, 2009

Courtesy of UNC Athletics

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Senior captain Danielle Forword scored in the 83rd minute of play to give the second-ranked North Carolina field hockey team a 2-1 overtime victory against host Virginia Saturday afternoon at University Hall Turf Field. With the win, their first in overtime this season, the Tar Heels remained undefeated and improved to 14-0 overall, 4-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Third-ranked Virginia fell to 14-2 overall, 1-2 in the ACC.

"It was a great team effort for us," UNC coach Karen Shelton said. "Virginia is a very dangerous team and a formidable opponent. Their speed up front puts incredible pressure on opponents. I felt like we played a very smart game. Ball control was the key to the game and I thought we did a better job of controlling the ball and controlling the tempo."

The Tar Heels took an early lead 8:26 into the action when Forword dribbled into the circle and fed junior Elizabeth Drazdowski on the right post. Drazdowski sent the ball past Virginia keeper Kim Kastuk for her fourth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.

UNC would hold that advantage until the game's final moments, when Cavalier sophomore Paige Selenski scored her team's only goal with 36 seconds on the clock. Virginia junior Inga Stockel blasted the ball into the circle on a free hit and Selenski was able to get her stick on it and direct it into the cage, sending the game into overtime.

It was Carolina's first extra-period game since a 2-1 loss in penalty strokes at Wake Forest on Sept. 5, 2008. UNC and Virginia had not played to overtime since the 2000 ACC Tournament, when the Cavaliers won 2-1 on penalty strokes in College Park, Md.

"We've been practicing overtime, even though we haven't had the chance to execute it in a game," Shelton said. "I told our team at the start of overtime, win or lose, this is going to be good for us. In the end, we were able to find a way to score a goal."

The gamewinner, Forword's third of the season, came on the Tar Heels' second penalty corner of the seven-on-seven overtime. In a reversal of roles from the game's first goal, Drazdowski provided the assist.

Next up for the Tar Heels is another battle in Virginia, as the team travels to Harrisonburg to meet No. 11 James Madison on Sunday at 1 p.m. UNC leads the series 30-6-1, but the last three games - all Tar Heel wins - each have been decided by a single goal.

"We feel great about the win today, but now we know we have to turn our attention to James Madison," Shelton said. "We look at every game as an opportunity to improve. One thing about this weekend is that it's our last opportunity to play back-to-back games and gain experience that we hope can help us in the postseason. And we know that JMU is going to be a tough opponent."