UNC Field Hockey Members Take National Stage

Carolina women’s field hockey will again be taking center stage this week at the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Championship as a handful of Tar Heels will be in action in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Eight teams drafted athletes from across the nation to compete for the 2014 title. The championship will be contested Saturday. The Women’s National Championship provides an opportunity for talented players to showcase their skills in hopes of landing a spot on the U.S. Women’s National Squad.

Kristy Bernatchez, Emma Bozek, Casey Di Nardo, Abby Frey, Shannon Johnson, Lauren Moyer, and Julia Young will represent UNC at the event all week. Carolina associate head coach Grant Fulton will serves as a coach for USA Red team.

Sophomore Casey Di Nardo (Courtesy of GoHeels.com)

 Casey Di Nardo (Courtesy of GoHeels.com)

In addition, the Under 21 Championship will take place in Pennsylvania this week. And again, Tar Heels will be prominently featured. Incoming freshmen Gab Major and Charlotte Vaziri will take the field.


Wold, Craddock Earn All-America Status in Field Hockey

CHAPEL HILL– A pair of Carolina field hockey players has been tabbed for All-America honors by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.

UNC sophomore Emily Wold was selected on the first-team All America list while junior Charlotte Craddock has earned second-team All-America status.

Wold is also the South Region Player of the Year and All-ACC, All-ACC Tournament and All-NCAA Tournament. Wold led the nation in assists with 23.

Craddock scored 13 goals in the 18 games she played for the Tar Heels. She also earned All-ACC, All-South Region and All-NCAA Tournament honors.

This was the second year in a row that Wold and Craddock were named All-Americans.

The Tar Heels advanced to the Final Four for the fifth year in a row before losing to the eventual national champion Huskies of Connecticut.


Field Hockey Falls To Connecticut In NCAA Semifinal Shootout

NORFOLK – North Carolina’s 2013 field hockey season came to an end Friday evening in the NCAA Championship semifinals at L.R. Hill Sports Complex, where the No. 3 Tar Heels fell to No. 4 Connecticut 2-1 after a penalty shootout. The score remained tied at 1-1 through two 15-minute overtime periods, sending the game into the shootout tie-breaker. In the back-and-forth, best-of-five series, UConn made two of its first four shots, and when UNC missed its fourth the game was over.

“We want to congratulate the University of Connecticut for advancing to the national championship game,” said UNC coach Karen Shelton, who led the Tar Heels to the final four for the 18th time in her 33 seasons with the program. “It was a gutsy performance on their part and even thought we’re hugely disappointed, we’re happy for their players and coaching staff. It was a game that was a little bit back-and-forth and, of course, grueling – two overtime periods are tough and to lose in a shootout is heartbreaking, but it’s part of the game. I’m disappointed but happy for UConn.”

UNC finishes its season 18-6 after reaching the final four for the fifth consecutive year and the sixth time in the past seven. The Tar Heels last won the title in 2009 and had reached the championship game but finished as the runner-up in each of the past three years.

This year it’s Connecticut that will play in the final, facing No. 5 Duke on Sunday at 4 p.m. for the crown. The Blue Devils advanced with a 3-2 win over No. 1 Maryland in the first semifinal on Friday.

Friday’s matchup was the second meeting between the Tar Heels and Huskies at Old Dominion’s home field in less than a month. Just as in the first matchup, which UNC won 2-1 on Oct. 26 in a regular-season, neutral-site matchup, Connecticut scored first and led 1-0 at halftime.

The Huskies got on the board in the fifth minute of play on their first corner of the game. Marie Elena Bolles scored the goal, on a pass from Roisin Upton. UConn held the lead until the 44th minute, when Carolina tied it up. Tar Heel junior Charlotte Craddock dribbled into the circle and when UConn keeper Sarah Mansfield came out to play the ball, Craddock carried the ball to the left side of the cage and sent it behind the keeper to the right corner of the goal for her 13th goal of the year.

The game stayed knotted at 1-1 through the rest of regulation. Although the Tar Heels led 7-0 in shots in the second half, they were unable to pick up another goal.

In the seven-on-seven overtime periods, it was Connecticut that created more opportunities. The Huskies has three shots and a corner in the first period, and five shots and a corner in the second, while UNC didn’t have a shot or corner in either period.

In the shootout, Connecticut went first and UNC keeper Sassi Ammer stopped the shot by Upton. But Mansfield stopped Casey Di Nardo‘s shot and UConn’s Anne Jeute then made hers to give UConn a 1-0 lead. Next up for UNC were Emily Wold and Loren Shealy, neither of whom was able to score. Ammer stopped a shot by Bolles, but Chrissy Davidson was able to make hers, putting UConn ahead 2-0. Emma Bozek went fourth and when she was unable to score the Tar Heels were two down with only one shooter remaining, ending the game.

The game was the final one in Tar Heel jerseys for four seniors: Meghan Drake, a back from Fort Worth, Texas; Sinead Loughran, a forward from Dublin, Ireland; Rachel Magerman, a midfielder from Blue Bell, Pa; and Marta Malmberg, a midfielder/back from Marathon, N.Y. All four played in the final four in each year of their UNC careers. Also playing her final Carolina game was Janne Grove, a back from Hamburg, Germany, who is working toward her MBA at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and had just one year of eligibility to play for the Tar Heels.

No. 4 Connecticut 2, No. 3 North Carolina 1, 2OT (penalty shootout)

Scoring: UConn – Marie Elena Bolles (Roisin Upton), 4:42; UNC ­ – Charlotte Craddock, 43:43; UConn – 2-0 in penalty shootout

Shots: UNC 13 (6/7/0/0), UConn 12 (4/0/3/5)

Penalty corners: UNC 7 (2/5/0/0), UConn 5 (2/1/1/1)

Goalkeeper saves: UNC 7 (Sassi Ammer, 100:00; 1 goal allowed, 7 saves); UConn 4 (Sarah Mansfield, 100:00; 1 goal allowed, 4 saves)

Records: UNC 18-6; UConn 20-4


Field Hockey Final Fours Serve as Norm for Tar Heels

NORFOLK, Va.–No. 3 UNC will be facing Connecticut Friday at 4:45 p.m. in an effort to advance to their fourth straight national championship field hockey game.

The Tar Heels have finished as national runner-ups the past three seasons and will be hoping to recapture the title they won back in 2009.

Carolina is 18-5 on the season. The winner of the UNC-UCONN battle will face the victor between Duke and Maryland on Sunday.

Five Carolina players will finish their careers this weekend in Norfolk: seniors Meghan Drake, Sinead Loughran, Rachel Magerman and Marta Malmberg, and MBA student Janne Grove.


Field Hockey Earns Final Four Ticket

CHAPEL HILL – For the fifth year in a row and the 18th time in program history, North Carolina has earned a spot in field hockey’s final four. The third-ranked Tar Heels defeated No. 13 Wake Forest 5-2 Sunday in an NCAA Tournament second round game at Francis E. Henry Stadium to advance to the NCAA semifinals. Carolina will face No. 4 Connecticut Friday in Norfolk, Va., on the campus of Old Dominion University.

The Tar Heels are now 18-5, while the Demon Deacons finished their season at 12-9. UNC is one of three Atlantic Coast Conference teams to make the final four, along with top-seeded Maryland and fourth-seeded Duke. UConn advanced by beating Michigan State, which scored a first-round upset against second-seeded Syracuse, the fourth ACC team hosting first and second-round games this weekend.

“I’m excited for our Tar Heels to be going to the final four,” said UNC coach Karen Shelton, who is in her 33rd year with the program and has coached the Tar Heels to six NCAA crowns. “It never ever gets old and it’s never easy to get there.

“Wake Forest had an outstanding year and came on strong at the end. Congratulations to them for finishing in the top eight – they made it rough for us today. They’re a good team – well-organized, scrappy and they never quit. They made us earn every minute.”

Sunday’s game was the third meeting of the season for UNC and Wake Forest. Carolina had won the previous two – 4-2 in the regular season and 3-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals just over a week ago – but it was Wake that got out front first on Sunday, just 1:50 into the game. The Demon Deacons drove into the circle, where UNC keeper Sassi Ammer saved the first shot, by Kari Walkley. But Taylor Rhea gathered the rebound and got the ball past Ammer to put WFU up 1-0.

The visitors held the lead until the ninth minute of play. On UNC’s third penalty corner of the game, sophomore Nina Notman tied the score with her 14th goal of the season, assisted by sophomoreEmily Wold and graduate student Janne Grove.

The game stayed knotted at 1-1 for just over 22 minutes, but in the 31st minute Notman struck again with the gamewinner. On a penalty corner, UNC’s initial shot was saved, but Notman grabbed the rebound on the right side and put it back for a lead Carolina would never give up.

The 2-1 advantage held until the 46th minute of play, when Notman sent a hard ball into the circle and freshman Lauren Moyer got a quick deflection in front of the goal to put UNC up 3-1. Just over three minutes later the Tar Heels struck again, using sharp passing and teamwork. On the run, sophomore Casey Di Nardo passed the ball to junior Charlotte Craddock, who gave it right back and put Di Nardo in perfect position to score her 14th goal of the season.

With the Tar Heels up 4-1, Wake drew its first penalty corner of the game in the 56th minute. Jess McFadyen deflected in a shot from Anna Kozniuk to draw the Demon Deacons within two, and Wake immediately called a timeout. Less than a minute after the restart, however, UNC struck again to make it 5-2. Craddock got a pass from Wold at the right side of the cage and fired a shot just inside the left post for her 12th goal of the season and fourth of the weekend.

“There were some stellar goals out there today,” Shelton said. “I’m thrilled and relieved to be going to another final four.”

On the day, UNC had 33 shots and Wake Forest keeper Valerie Dahmen made a career-high 19 saves.

UNC will depart Wednesday for Norfolk in preparation for Thursday’s practice session and Friday’s game. Maryland and Duke will meet in the first semifinal game, which is a rematch of one of last week’s ACC semifinal games, at 2 p.m.  The game between UNC and UConn follows at 4:45 p.m. The Tar Heels and Huskies have already met on the L.R. Hill Sports Complex turf this season, in a neutral-side matchup on Oct. 26, which UNC won 2-1.

No. 3 UNC 5, No. 13 Wake Forest 2

Scoring: WFU – Taylor Rhea, 1:50; UNC – Nina Notman (Janne GroveEmily Wold), 8:03; UNC – Nina Notman, 30:17; UNC – Lauren Moyer (Nina Notman), 30:17; UNC – Casey Di Nardo (Charlotte Craddock), 48:38; WFU – Jess McFadyen (Anna Kozniuk), 55:44; UNC – Charlotte Craddock (Emily Wold), 56:30

Shots: UNC 33 (20/13), WFU 5 (3/2)

Penalty corners: UNC 10 (8/2), WFU 1 (0/1)

Goalkeeper saves: UNC 1 (Sassi Ammer, 63:56, 2 goals allowed, 1 save; Shannon Johnson, 6:04, 0 goals allowed, 0 saves); WFU 19 (Valerie Dahmen, 70:00, 5 goals allowed, 19 saves)

Records: UNC 18-5, WFU 12-9


Field Hockey To Take On Delaware In NCAA First Round

CHAPEL HILL – As the North Carolina field hockey team continues preparations for NCAA Tournament play, it now can focus on a specific opponent. The third-ranked Tar Heels, 16-5 and seeded third in the NCAA field, will open play Saturday against No. 14 Delaware (17-4), which beat Liberty 1-0 Wednesday in a play-in game.

The Tar Heels and Blue Hens will face off Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Francis E. Henry Stadium, with a matchup between No. 6 Old Dominion and No. 13 Wake Forest following at 2 p.m. In the single-elimination format, the first-round winners will meet Sunday at 2 p.m. for a spot in the national semifinals

“We’re excited to get back in action on Saturday and excited to face Delaware,” said UNC coach Karen Shelton, who will coach in the NCAA Tournament for the 30th time. “After a tough weekend of ACC play, we got a little rest in the early part of this week and now that we know who we’ll play, we’ll able to focus on our next opponent. We know we have a challenge ahead of us in facing Delaware, but we can’t wait to play and we’re thrilled to be playing at home at Henry Stadium.”

Tickets to the games are $5 and will be available at the Henry Stadium gate.

UNC last played on Sunday, when the Tar Heels fell 2-0 to No. 1 Maryland in the ACC Tournament championship game, hosted by Boston College in Newton, Mass. To reach the title game, Carolina beat Wake Forest in the quarterfinals and No. 2 Syracuse in the semis.

When the NCAA bracket was announced on Sunday night, all four of the top seeds and host sites belonged to the ACC. Maryland is the No. 1 seed in the field, followed by first-year ACC member Syracuse at No. 2, UNC at No. 3 and Duke at No. 4. The other three conference teams – Virginia, Wake and Boston College – also made the field.

For the full bracket, click here.


UNC Earns No. 3 Seed, Will Host First And Second Rounds

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. ­- North Carolina has received an at-large bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament and will host first and second-round games at Francis E. Henry Stadium Nov. 16 and 17. The Tar Heels, seeded No. 3 in the 16-team field, will open Saturday at 11:30 a.m. against the winner of a Wednesday play-in game between Liberty and Delaware.

“Top to bottom, I think this is the deepest and most competitive bracket I’ve ever seen,” UNC coach Karen Shelton said. “As always we’re excited to be a part of the field, and we’re thrilled to be hosting.”

The Tar Heels (16-5) are making the program’s 30th appearance in the NCAA Tournament field. Carolina has won six previous titles, in 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2007 and 2009. Since winning its most recent title in 2009, the Tar Heels have finished as the NCAA runner-up three times in a row, by a 3-2 score each year.

All seven Atlantic Coast Conference teams received NCAA Tournament bids. Both UNC and Duke, the No. 4 seed, are hosting this weekend, as are No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 Syracuse.

“That’s phenomenal and says so much about the strength of our conference,” Shelton said. “To have all four of the host sites at ACC schools is amazing.”


No. 3 Meets No. 2: Tar Heels Beat Wake, Face Orange Next

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications

NEWTON, Mass.– The No. 3 ranked UNC field hockey team pulled out a 3-2 victory over Wake Forest to advance to the ACC Tournament semifinals Thursday.

Carolina improved to 15-4 on the season while Wake Forest dropped to 11-8 on the year.

The game was played in steady rain at Boston College’s Newton Campus Field Hockey Complex, and the Tar Heels stepped up big time in the second half by not allowing a single shot from the Demon Deacons.

“I’m really happy to have advanced,” UNC coach Karen Shelton says. “Credit goes to Wake Forest – they really played well. I was proud that we did not allow a shot in the second half, or a penalty corner. That was the key to the game.”

Next up for the Tar Heels is a semifinal date with No. 2 Syracuse Friday at 3:30 p.m.


No. 3 Field Hockey Opens ACC Tourney Play

Photo courtesy of GoHeels.com

NEWTON, Mass.– The third-ranked UNC field hockey team, currently 14-4 on the season and 3-3 in ACC play, begins action in the ACC tournament today against Wake Forest at 3 p.m.

Last time out, the Tar Heels fell to No. 2 Syracuse 1-0. All four of Carolina’s losses this season have been by a single goal. Wake Forest sits at 11-7 overall and 1-5 in conference.

Three Tar Heels were named to the All-ACC Field Hockey Team on Wednesday. Charlotte Craddock, Nina Notman and Emily Wold were voted on the team by the league’s coaches.

Carolina’s game against the Demon Deacons can be viewed on the Internet on ESPN3.



Olympic Sports Spotlight

CHAPEL HILL–It’s that time of the week again. That time when we take a step back from the bright lights of the football field, basketball court and soccer turf to check in on some exciting Olympic sports action in Tar Heel country. This weekend, the top ranked women’s field hockey team and the surging, No. 14 volleyball squad will have plenty to offer.


-Field Hockey: These Tar Heel ladies will continue ACC play Friday by hosting No. 13 Duke at 6 p.m. at Francis E. Henry Stadium.  Carolina is 8-0 overall and 1-0 in the ACC. The Blue Devils sit at 6-2 on the season. A year ago, the Tar Heels thumped Duke down in Durham 7-3. Another intriguing aspect of this intense rivalry this year will be a sister act. Tar Heel freshman goalkeeper Shannon Johnson’s older sister Aileen is a sophomore midfielder for Duke. Admission is free for the game so head on out to support your top-ranked Tar Heels.


-Volleyball: The undefeated Tar Heels were dealt a tough blow on Thursday as Head Coach Joe Sagula announced that redshirt junior Chaniel Nelson will be out for the rest of the season due to a stress fracture in her tibia. Despite the somber news, fourteenth-ranked Carolina will soldier on with a home match Friday at 7 p.m. against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Earlier in the season, UNC swept Notre Dame in a non-conference tilt at the Blue Raider Bash. Already off to the best start in program history, Carolina will be looking to keep the streak going in Carmichael Arena. Admission is free and live video can be viewed on GoHeels TV.