CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Tar Heel sophomore Eva van’t Hoogscored twice in just over three minutes, tying the score then giving UNC the lead for good in a 3-2 field hockey win over No. 2 Duke on Sunday afternoon at Francis E. Henry Stadium.
The win completed a stellar stretch for the fifth-ranked Tar Heels, who in consecutive games knocked off the top two teams in the national rankings, both of which arrived at Henry Stadium undefeated. Carolina, which is now 8-2 on the season, beat No. 1 Syracuse 3-2 in double overtime on Friday night.
“I’m incredibly proud of our team — it was a terrific weekend,” UNC coach Karen Shelton said. “To put together two big games like this was a huge confidence booster. I can’t remember a time when we’ve played No. 1 and No. 2 back to back. I told the team that this was an incredible opportunity, and they took the opportunity.”
Van’t Hoog’s first goal, which tied the game at 1-1, came in the 50th minute on a reverse stick shot from the left side after she beat a defender and carried the ball into the circle.
Three minutes later, she added another to give Carolina the lead for good. In traffic in front of the cage, she picked up the ball and sent a shot rolling through the legs of a defender and under Duke keeper Sammi Steele for a 2-1 Tar Heel advantage.
“It doesn’t really matter who scored, it was just a great team effort,” van’t Hoog said. “Especially in the second half, I think we showed a lot of maturity.”
UNC freshman Eef Andriessen added another goal in the 61st minute, working the ball around a defender and then shooting low into the cage for a 3-1 lead.
The Tar Heels then took a timeout, and Duke capitalized on momentum coming out of the break. In the 62nd minute, Blue Devil Aisling Naughton got the ball after a takeaway in the circle. She missed on her first shot but recovered and shot again to score and draw Duke within a goal, 3-2. But the Carolina defense was able to hold for the final eight minutes and preserve the win.
HEELS WIN! Final score is UNC-3 Duke-2. Goals scored by Eva Van't Hoog (2) and Eef Andriessen. #GoHeels— UNC Field Hockey (@UNCFieldHockey) September 25, 2016
Duke jumped out early with a goal on the first shot of the game. In the third minute of play, Ashley Kristen took a pass from Naughton and shot from the top-left of the circle into the right corner of the cage. The Tar Heels trailed 1-0 at the half after managing just two shots and one penalty corner in the first period. In the second half, however, they outshot Duke 9-3 and earned four penalty corners to none by the Blue Devils.
“We showed a lot of toughness and fitness in the second half,” Shelton said. “To come from behind is terrific for our team.”
After the game, Shelton noted the play of senior Emma Bozek, who shifted up to play at forward from her usual spot in the midfield. “She gave us an unbelievable amount of energy up front and created a lot of offensive opportunities and corners,” Shelton said. “Eva had a great day today with the two goals, and Eef having that third one was huge.”
Sunday’s game was a non-conference contest for UNC and Duke. They’ll meet for the designated Atlantic Coast Conference matchup on Oct. 22 in Durham.
Exciting win aside, Sunday’s game was a highlight for another reason: The team partnered with Vs. Cancer to raise money for the battle against cancer. A Tar Heel alum, Katie Ardrey, who lettered for UNC from 2009-2012 and is currently battling cancer, spoke to the crowd at halftime.
“You talk about resilience and handling adversity — she has been incredible,” Shelton said of her former player, who was a member of both NCAA and ACC championships teams. “It was nice to get the win on this day for Katie.”