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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.”

shealy

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.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/1-unc-takes-4-syracuse-final-four/

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.”

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(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.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-shutouts-duke-earns-spot-final-four/

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. (GoHeels.com)

Casey Di Nardo scored the gamewinner against Liberty. (GoHeels.com)

“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.”

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-advances-ncaa-tournament/

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.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-host-liberty-1st-round-ncaa-tournament/

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.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/field-hockey-faces-duke-acc-tournament/

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.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-field-hockey-members-take-national-stage/

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.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/go-heel-go-america-wold-craddock-earn-america-status-field-hockey/

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

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/field-hockey-falls-connecticut-ncaa-semifinal-shootout/

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.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/field-hockey-final-fours-serve-norm-tar-heels/

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

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/field-hockey-earns-final-four-ticket/