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North Carolina Athletics | September 24, 2021

College field hockey: No. 7 North Carolina opens ACC play with 6-1 win over No. 5 Boston College

Watch the final seconds of the women's field hockey national championship in OT

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The North Carolina field hockey team opened Atlantic Coast Conference play Friday afternoon with an emphatic win, beating fifth-ranked Boston College 6-1 at Karen Shelton Stadium. Six different Tar Heel players scored in the victory and Carolina led 6-0 before the Eagles got on the board in the 57th minute of play.

Seventh-ranked UNC improved to 5-3 overall (1-0 ACC) while BC fell to 7-2 (0-2 ACC).

"Every year we want to win the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and this was our first opportunity to take a step towards that goal," UNC coach Karen Shelton said. "We just want to keep growing each week and this game was important for us. I'm proud that we had so many different scorers — that speaks to the versatility of our attack."

Carolina returns to action on Sunday, stepping back out of conference to host UConn at 1 p.m. at Karen Shelton Stadium.

On Friday, as UNC kicked off both ACC play and Alumni Weekend, the Tar Heels scored on their first two penalty corners, both on deflections. On the first, senior Cassie Sumfest had the initial shot and sophomore Katie Dixon deflected the ball in for what would prove to be the gamewinner in the ninth minute of play. Early in the second quarter, the Tar Heels scored again on a deflection, with the initial hit by Erin Matson and the touch at the far post by Jasmina Smolenaars for the first goal of her Tar Heel career.

After just two goals in the first half, the Tar Heels picked up three within a five-minute span in the third quarter. In the 33rd minute, Paityn Wirth carried the ball into the circle and down to the baseline then passed out to Hannah Griggs in front of the cage. Griggs swatted the ball in for a 3-0 lead.

In the 36th minute, the Tar Heels struck again. After a UNC shot was blocked, the rebound rolled out to senior Meredith Sholder at the top of the circle and she fired a shot just inside the far post for a 4-0 lead.

Just over two minutes later, Eva Smolenaars sent a ball across the circle from the left side and Matson hit the turf to deflect it in at the far post for a 5-0 lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Tar Heels added one more, again on an assist from Eva Smolenaars. On the break, the senior sent a long ball into the circle where freshman Lisa Slinkert was in position right beside the BC keeper to tap the ball in for a 6-0 Tar Heel lead.

The Eagles' lone goal came on a penalty corner, one of four they drew in the fourth quarter. With 3:21 remaining in the game, Fusine Govaert had the goal, assisted by Sarah Johnson on the insert and Juliette Hijdra on the stop.

UNC led 18-7 on shots, with a 15-2 advantage through the first three quarters. The teams were tied with six penalty corners each.

Freshman Abigail Taylor made one save in goal for UNC and junior Romea Riccardo added a defensive save. BC keepers Jonna Kennedy (37:35) and Emily Gillespie (22:25) combined for seven saves on the day.

The game kicked off Alumni Weekend for the Tar Heels, with more than two dozen former players in the stands for the game. They were recognized at halftime and kept up the energy throughout, something noted across the way on the Tar Heel bench.

"I think we fed off the energy not only of the Fockey Band but our alums," Shelton said. "They've been so much fun to have in the crowd and I think our kids just really responded."  

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