Stroman On Sports: If God Is Not A Tar Heel

It was another good weekend for UNC athletics, as the Carolina men’s soccer, women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams all posted impressive wins alongside the football team’s shellacking of Illinois. Meanwhile, the national headlines were abuzz with the latest flap between NFL quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers zinged Wilson’s penchant for praising God after wins after his Packers beat Wilson’s Seahawks.

(Not in the national headlines: the ongoing WNBA playoffs. Which raises its own set of questions.)

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School professor and sports analyst Deborah Stroman joined Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday to talk about these issues.

Current, Former Tar Heels Claim Gold With USA Field Hockey

Team USA – featuring five current or former Tar Heels – won gold in women’s field hockey on Friday at the Pan American Games in Toronto, beating Argentina 2-1 in the final.

That’s Team USA’s second straight Pan Am Games title; they also beat Argentina in the final in 2011.

Team USA’s roster includes rising Carolina senior Emily Wold plus former Tar Heels Jackie Briggs, Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski and Kelsey Kolojejchick. Goalkeeper Briggs was key to America’s win on Friday, making several big saves along the way.

Another former Tar Heel, Caitlin Van Sickle, was on the roster as an alternate.

Tar Heels Starring At Pan American Games

Current and former Tar Heel athletes are in the spotlight this month, competing at the Pan American Games in Toronto.

On Sunday, former UNC swimming star Chip Peterson won gold in the men’s 10-K open water race, beating out fellow USA teammate David Heron by four seconds. That’s his second gold medal at the Pan-American Games – he also won one back in 2007, when he was still a student at Carolina. Peterson is a 2010 alum; he’s currently an assistant coach at UNC.

More on Chip Peterson at

Meanwhile, field hockey competition got underway on Monday, and Team USA is loaded with Tar Heels: five in all, on a roster with only 16 players. Jackie Briggs, Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski, Kelsey Kolojejchick and Emily Wold are all on the roster, with UNC alum Caitlin Van Sickle as an alternate. The US beat Uruguay 5-0 on Monday in the first match of pool play; Falgowski and Kolojejchick both scored goals.

Check out the box score from Monday’s game.

Team USA faces Chile on Wednesday and Cuba on Friday before the knockout rounds next week.

More on Team USA at

No.1 UNC Takes On No. 4 Syracuse In Final Four

The top-ranked North Carolina field hockey team will make its 19th final four appearance Friday after beating No. 9 Duke Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The game winner came from senior forward Loren Shealy on a penalty corner.

Shealy says beating Duke on her home field, Francis E. Henry Stadium, was a great way to end her college career.

“I mean it’s just an amazing feeling, I really can’t describe it,” Shealy says. “It’s something you kind of dream about, like one of these games putting you into the final four. Team was awesome today and brought so much intensity, for themselves and for us, and especially for us seniors and it means the world.”


Loren Shealy UNC Athletics

But the Tar Heels won’t be playing on their home turf for their NCAA tournament semifinal game. They will face a familiar ACC foe – No. 4 Syracuse in College Park, Md.

UNC Coach Karen Shelton says the game will be evenly matched.

“We have some motivation, but they’ll have some motivation as well,” Shelton says. “I would expect an even match. They’ve got strengths and so do we.”

Coach Shelton (UNC Athletics)

Coach Shelton (UNC Athletics)

The two teams have played against each other twice this year. The Orange beat the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament, winning 3-2 in overtime, but UNC won the regular season game 3-0.

“I think that it will be the rubber match, so we beat them in the regular season and they beat us in the ACC Tournament,” Shelton says. “I think we’ll prepare a little bit better and I think that we’ll play better.”

This will be UNC’s sixth consecutive final four appearance. The six-time NCAA champions lost to Connecticut in the NCAA semifinals last year.

UNC Snags 3-0 Victory Over Duke, Earns Final Four Spot

UNC celebrates the 3-0 victory over the Duke. (Daily Tar Heel)

UNC celebrates 3-0 victory over Duke. (Courtesy of the Daily Tar Heel)

The top-ranked UNC field hockey team shut out No. 9 Duke 3-0 Sunday in Chapel Hill to earn a spot in the Final Four.

The Blue Devil loss ends their season with a 13-7 record. The Tar Heels improve to 19-3 overall and extend their season another game.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be going to the Final Four,” UNC coach Karen Shelton says. “I want to congratulate Duke on a great season. They are an outstanding team and I think you could see the intensity level of the game.”


(Photo courtesy of the Daily Tar Heel)

Senior Loren Shealy scored the first goal of the game on a penalty corner in the 32nd minute of play.

Junior Emma Bozek led the Tar Heels in scoring and scored her first goal in the 57th minute. Bozek’s second goal came in the 67th minute assisted by junior Emily Wold and brought UNC to their 3-0 lead over Duke.

“They’ve been setting me up for every single goal I’ve had this season and it’s all just come together really nice,” Bozek says. “I think my two goals today were because of some amazing passing combinations further down the field. It’s really nice to see that everyone’s really working hard and working together.”

Bozek’s second goal marked her team-high 15th goal of the season, more than her two previous years combined.

“I think they brought out the best in us today,” Shelton says. “I’m really proud of our Tar Heels. I thought it was a balanced team effort and led primarily by our seniors.”

UNC Field Hockey celebrate

For five of the women on the UNC field hokey team, Sunday marked the last home game of their college careers.

“To end my career at home against Duke, it’s arguably one of the greatest rivalry in all the sports and it’s just an amazing feeling. I really can’t describe it,” Shealy says. “You kind of dream about one of these games going into the Final Four.”

Top-ranked UNC will face No. 4 Syracuse Friday in an NCAA Tournament semifinal game in College Park, Md.


UNC Field Hockey Wins, Gets Duke Next In NCAAT

The No. 1 North Carolina field hockey team defeated No. 20 Liberty 2-1 Saturday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Francis E. Henry Stadium.

With the loss, Liberty finishes the season 14-8 overall. North Carolina improves to 18-3 and advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Junior midfielder Emma Bozek led the Tar Heels to score in the first seven minutes of the game deflecting a corner shot by Nina Notman.

Tar Heels huddle up! (UNC Athletics)

Tar Heels huddle up! (UNC Athletics)

The Flames worked around goalkeeper Shannon Johnson to tie the game early in the first half.

“The fact that they were able to score and tie it up put pressure on us and we had to withstand long periods of their pressure,” UNC coach Karen Shelton says.

The Tar Heels sealed the game in the 26th minute of play with a goal from Casey Di Nardo for a 2 -1 lead into halftime.

Casey Di Nardo scored the gamewinner against Liberty. (

Casey Di Nardo scored the gamewinner against Liberty. (

“We did score on two corners but we won a lot more. If we could score on more corners that we’re winning, we could have really put the game away early,” Di Nardo says.

The Tar Heels will face Duke in Chapel Hill Sunday at 2 p.m. in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“We’ve been here and played back-to-back,” says Coach Shelton. “I know we will take some confidence and fitness into tomorrow’s game.”


Tar Heel Field Hockey Hosts Liberty NCAA Tourney 1R

UNC’s field hockey team, ranked number one in the nation, will host the No. 20 Liberty Flames in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday at Francis E. Henry Stadium.  The Flames earned the right to play the Tar Heels after they defeated Richmond 3-1 in a play-in game on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday’s game is scheduled for 11:30am with Northwestern playing Duke after the game concludes.  The winners of the two games will meet Sunday at 2pm  with a spot in the National Semifinals on the line.

UNC is led by junior midfielder Emma Bozek, who enters the match leading the team in goals (12), assists, (10) and points (34).

Under the watchful eye of head coach Karen Shelton, the Tar Heels are making their 31st appearance in the tournament that has been held 34 times.  They also enter as the number one seed in search of their seventh national title and first since 2009.  In order to do so, the Tar Heels must first deal with a red-hot Flames team.

Shelton is expecting a tough game from Liberty, “There going to come in with no fear, they have nothing to lose. And they have the revenge factor.  So we know that they’re going to be as good as any team we can handle I think.  I think that as the number one seed we would have had a little friendlier match-up in the first round but I think this year in particular there’s so much darn parity throughout the country that every team that got in has a chance,” despite defeating them earlier in the season.

Liberty (14-7; 4-0) enters the match on a 5 game win streak that started after the team fell to North Carolina 4-0 back on October 19.  Over the course of the win streak the Flames have outscored their opponents by a score of 21-3 and have seen their offense jump to second in the nation, tied with the Tar Heels, averaging 3.6 goals per game.

If UNC is going to be victorious they must once again shut down Flames Junior forward, Sarah Gripe.  Gripe, has a team high 45 points including 19 goals, needs one more goal to set a Liberty single-season record.  However, not only will the Tar Heels have to deal with Gripe but also they will need to find another way to solve Flames Junior goalkeeper Mallory Cuccio.

Cuccio is having a career year as she has posted personal best in wins (13), saves (79) and shutouts (4), including the 1-0 shutout of then number four Stanford in the NorPac Championship game just to make the play-in game.

Sophomore midfielder Kristy Bernatchez doesn’t believe her team has many holes.

“We don’t really have one weak spot on our team.  When we play other teams we try to attack where their weak spots are, so whether it be in the back or if they have weaker forwards.  We don’t really have one spot that is weak,” Bernatchez says. They will need to stay that way if they want to become national champions once again.

Field Hockey Faces Duke in ACC Tournament

Having dominated the nation’s top spot for an astounding six weeks in a row, North Carolina field hockey is set to face Duke in their first game of the ACC Tournament Thursday.

The match will be held in Durham at Duke’s Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium at 1:30 p.m. The Tar Heels are the second-seed in the tournament, which runs the entire weekend from Thursday to Sunday.

In the last meet-up between the rivals on October 17, UNC pulled out a 1-0 victory on the road with a score from Senior Samantha Travers in the 26th minute.

All-ACC Selections were released earlier this week, as Carolina lead the number of players selected with six. Those honored on the first-team include seniors Charlotte Craddock and Samantha Travers and juniors Emily Wold and Nina Notman. Loren Shealy and Emma Bozek, the conference’s reigning player of the week, were voted to second-team honors.

All seven ACC teams are ranked among the top 13 nationally by the NCAA Field Hockey RPI.

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

 Casey Di Nardo (Courtesy of

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.