In a field hockey game of the highest quality, #3 ranked North Carolina defeated favorites Syracuse 1-0 to advance to the final of the ACC Field Hockey Championship at the Boston College Field Hockey grounds in Newton, MA on Friday.
UNC now face Maryland on Sunday. The game will be a repeat of the 2012 title game that saw North Carolina win its 18th league championship with a 4-2 victory.
On a cold, windy day with the game played on an astroturf pitch covered in autumn leaves, the only goal of of the game came in the first half. A defensive error by #2 ranked Syracuse allowed UNC player Emma Bozek to pick up the ball just outside the ‘D’ and find teammate Loren Shealy to her left, who drove the ball towards the goal where a diving sophomore Emily Wold (in picture below) deflected the ball past Syracuse keeper Jecko for the 1-0 lead. Syracuse had a couple of clear chances to equalize from two consecutive penalty corners just before going in for the break at half time, but tenacious goalkeeping by Germany’s Sassy Ammer in the Tar Heel goal kept the first half score 1-0 in favor of UNC.
Midfielders Nina Notman and Emily Wold were masterful in the center of the field for UNC in the second half, helping the Tar Heels keep the pressure on the Orange goal. With the clock approaching the final minutes of the game, Syracuse found the back of the net on a shot from outside the circle that appeared to deflect off of Ammer. After a video review, the call on the field was overturned, as officials determined that the ball went in untouched by both the North Carolina defenders and Ammer.
The Orange earned one final corner as time expired in the contest, but the North Carolina defense cleared the ball to clinch a spot in the title game.
The Tar Heels managed five shots and zero penalty corners in the game as they avenged a 1-0 loss to the Orange less than a week earlier. Syracuse registered nine shots and four penalty corners.
North Carolina’s shutout marked the first time since Oct. 3, 2010 in a 2-0 loss against Massachusetts that Syracuse has been shutout – a span stretching 74 matches.