LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Senior Erin McCrudden's goal in the second half proved to be the only scoring in the game while sophomore Ayeisha McFerran collected four saves in her sixth shutout of the season as the seventh-ranked University of Louisville field hockey team upset No. 3 North Carolina in an ACC matchup Saturday afternoon at Trager Stadium.
"I'm incredibly proud," said UofL head coach Justine Sowry. "To play against a UNC team that's coached by one of the legendary coaches in our game, you know you're going to get a good game… I think the bottom line for us is that we played to our identity and when we can mix it up with the best. We had a lot of poise at the end of the game and we're learning valuable lessons along the way."
The teams battled through a scoreless first half with the Tar Heels holding a 5-4 edge in shots and each team earning a pair of penalty corners.
Eleven minutes into the second half, McCrudden worked her way toward the circle and delivered a pass that went off of a defender's stick. The senior co-captain controlled the rebound and fired a shot into the top left corner of the cage for her second goal of the season.
"I think we just really stuck to our identity and that was our goal throughout the game, to pass the ball," said McCrudden. "Bethany Russ came up with the ball, we changed the play, which is something we've been working on and I was in the right place at the right time."
A yellow card issued to Louisville freshman Carter Ayars after a North Carolina corner meant that the Tar Heels held a one-player advantage for five minutes. During that time UNC earned another corner and had a pair of shots, but could not capitalize as the McFerran picked up a save and the Cardinals' defense stood strong.
With 4:45 remaining in regulation, North Carolina called a timeout and lifted goalkeeper Alex Halpin for an additional field player and pushed its attack up the field, but the Cards did not allow a shot as they held on for their seventh shutout of the season.
In the game, North Carolina held an 11-6 advantage in shots and a 5-2 edge in corners. Halpin (11-3) had two stops in the game for North Carolina (11-3, 3-2 ACC).
McFerran (11-3) registered four saves in the game as she continues to lead the ACC with six shutouts and a 0.80 goals-against average.
"We had a really good training week and we were really confident," said McFerran. "Obviously we respect UNC, but we were glad we could come out and stick to the game plan. For us to score – it was such an incredible team goal and everybody played a part in it… Our team defense played very well today so I had confidence in us being able to hold onto the lead."
Louisville (12-3, 2-3 ACC) returns to action on Sunday against Kent State at 12 p.m. The Cardinals will honor seniors Stephanie Byrne, Lizzie Gittens, Lotta Kahlert, Erin McCrudden, Hailey Netheron, Elina Pereira, Gianna Perrone and Shannon Sloss prior to the game.