CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Behind the force of three goals in just more than a two-minute span, North Carolina beat Delaware 6-2 on Saturday in an NCAA tournament first-round game at Francis E. Henry Stadium. UNC (17-5) got a hat trick from junior Charlotte Craddock in the victory, and the other three goals came from senior Marta Malmberg and sophomores Emily Wold and Nina Notman.
UNC and Wake Forest will face off at 2 p.m. Sunday in an NCAA tournament second-round game, with the winner moving on to the national semifinals on Friday in Norfolk, Va.
"I'm delighted to have advanced," UNC coach Karen Shelton said. "We never take NCAA tournament games for granted. We were fully prepared for Delaware and I'm excited we were able to get on the board early.
"I'm really proud of our team and the goals that were scored, as well as the quality of the passing. Our corner execution was good. I'm not too happy about the goals we gave up, but it's survive and advance and the fact we got so many goals and got them early was a plus for our team."
UNC opened the scoring with a goal in the ninth minute. After a give-and-go with Notman, Wold scored from close range.
Delaware answered at the 13-minute mark, scoring on the team's second penalty corner of the game. Freshman Esmee Peet had the goal, assisted by sophomore Allie Mikelson and senior Heather Hartman.
The Tar Heels then reeled off three quick goals to earn some breathing room. In the 18th minute of play, Notman scored on a penalty corner, assisted by Malmberg on the stickstop. Just 17 seconds later, Craddock dribbled into the circle and fired a shot past Delaware keeper Sarah Scher to make the score 3-1.
Less than two minutes later, Craddock added another. She took a pass from junior Loren Shealy then sent the ball to sophomore Casey Di Nardo to the right of the cage. Di Nardo passed it back to Craddock, who scored to put the Tar Heels up 4-1, a lead that would hold up through the rest of the half.
In the 49th minute of play, Craddock scored again, carrying the ball into the circle and firing a hard shot to make it 5-1. The Blue Hens answered less than a minute later. Following a save by UNC goalkeeper Sassi Ammer, Delaware's Toni Popinko grabbed the rebound and scored her seventh goal of the year.
The Tar Heels scored one more time, in the 55th minute. Di Nardo took a shot that was saved. After the rebound bounced back to her, she passed it across the cage to Malmberg, who tipped it in from the left side of the cage to make the score 6-2.
The Blue Hens finish their campaign at 17-5 with a school record for wins in a season. The game marked just the second time this season that Delaware has given up more than three goals.