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North Carolina Athletics | September 10, 2016

No. 3 UNC cruises past No. 9 Wake Forest in ACC battle

  The Tar Heels won their first game at home and its first in 2016 ACC play Saturday afternoon.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The third-ranked North Carolina field hockey team opened its home schedule with a win Saturday afternoon, beating No. 9 Wake Forest 4-1 in a game that was also the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams. Four different Tar Heels scored as UNC improved to 4-1 on the season. Wake fell to 3-2.

“I was very pleased with our first home outing,” UNC coach Karen Shelton said. “It was nice to be back here at Henry Stadium. I told [Wake coach] Jen Averill after the game that that’s probably the hardest-fought 4-1 victory that we’ve had in a long time. They’re only going to get better as the season goes on, so we’re happy to catch them early.”

Redshirt freshman Catherine Hayden scored the first goal of her Tar Heel career in the 16th minute of play and in the process provided the gamewinner. Senior Emma Bozek’s initial shot was saved by WFU goalkeeper Cat O’Connor, but Hayden put the rebound in the cage for a 1-0 lead. In the 24th minute, Carolina senior Lauren Moyer took a pass from sophomore Malin Evert and sent her shot into the top of the goal for a 2-0 Tar Heel lead.

“Malin had a beautiful assist and that goal was world-class,” Shelton said.

Wake’s goal came next, on the Demon Deacons’ only shot of the first half. Nicola Pluta got the ball from Madi Julius and then shot to the right of UNC keeper Shannon Johnson, who had come out of the goal to defend. The score stood at 2-1 at halftime.

In the second half, the Tar Heels picked up some more breathing room. In the 42nd minute, Bozek took and made UNC’s first penalty stroke of the season to push the lead to 3-1. In the 52nd minute, junior Sam Night scored her first goal of the season, on a pass from redshirt freshman Marissa Creatore, who registered her first career assist.

RELATED: No. 2 Duke fends off No. 11 Virginia Friday night

It marked the third time in the season’s five games that at least four different players have contributed goals. This fall, 10 Tar Heels have scored at least once.

“That’s the way we’re going to be,” Shelton said. “We don’t have the one go-to scorer – I think this is going to be a team that piecemeals the wins together. We’ve got a number of very, very good players who can score. I think that’s the kind of team we’re going to be.”

UNC will return to the Henry Stadium turf less than 24 hours after leaving it to host VCU on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Rams come to Chapel Hill 1-2 following an overtime win over Longwood on Friday.

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