Field Hockey Wins ACC Championship

UNC field hockey won its seventh consecutive ACC championship on Nov. 3 with a 2-0 win over rival Duke, giving Coach Erin Matson ’22 a conference crown in her debut season.

Carolina, 14-3 overall, captured the ACC regular-season title.

The championship game began with a scoreless first half, but in the second half, sophomore forward Ryleigh Heck put the Heels up 1–0 after netting her 11th goal of the season with a shot that sailed over the head of Duke goalkeeper Piper Hampsch.

Carolina’s final goal, also scored in the third quarter, came after freshman forward Charly Bruder found the back of the cage off a pass from Heck.

Carolina’s defense held strong during a fourth-quarter surge from the Blue Devils, with a pair of saves from goalkeeper Maddie Kahn. The win was Kahn’s first shutout since September.

“I think an underrated part of this team is their game IQ and the way they outsmart other teams, and the intent to get better in that sense,” Matson told the Review. “They’re good players, but also very smart, very intelligent and very dedicated to getting better every day.”

UNC has captured both the ACC regular-season and tournament titles for two consecutive years. Matson has been called the “greatest of all time” in field hockey and that rang true as she won her sixth, consecutive ACC tournament title: five as a player and one as head coach.

“The coaches who say it’s even more rewarding to see it from a coach’s perspective … they’re so accurate and it’s so true,” Matson said. “I thought it was fun celebrating with my teammates on the field holding the trophy, but to be able to see the girls be rewarded for all their hard work and to see them celebrating together and to get to take a step back and watch it from the outside, it definitely has been even more spectacular.”

Carolina is seeded No. 1 in the NCAA tournament and will play either William & Mary or Sacred Heart Nov. 10 in Karen Shelton Stadium on campus.

Before the season, the NCAA announced Chapel Hill as the site of this year’s Final Four, so should the Tar Heels advance that far, they’ll play in front of a home crowd. Tickets to the semifinal games will cost $15 for seats and $10 for standing room.

— Cameron Hayes Fardy ’23

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