Field Hockey Butchered by No. 1 North Carolina
By: Skyler Wilkes | @swilkes04
CitrusTV Field Hockey Beat Reporter
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The expectations were high for 11th ranked Syracuse ahead of its trip down to Chapel Hill. SU was in the midst of a five game win streak and North Carolina was undefeated. Nevertheless, when it was all said and done, UNC dominated 6-1.
Less than three minutes in, a video referral awarded the Tar Heels a corner and Sietske Brüning capitalized. Shortly after, North Carolina goalie Kylie Walbert committed a violation, which gave SU a penalty stroke. Laura Graziosi stepped up, having converted the only other try this year. However, the midfielder pushed it wide right, souring a perfect opportunity for the ‘Cuse.
Then, Brüning got another shot off a penalty corner. Brooke Borzymowski laid out to make the stop, but the ball remained in the circle and Kennedy Cliggett tapped it in. The craziest score came with under 10 seconds left in the quarter. Brüning made a last stitch effort that was redirected by Ryleigh Heck and found its way into the net. In total, there were 15 shots attempted in the first frame.
The second period was a little less eventful. UNC’s lone goal also came from Heck who received a phenomenal backhand pass from Erin Matson. With the assist, the grad student became the ACC’s all-time points leader.
SU went into the locker room with its largest deficit of the season and the second most points allowed in any contest.
North Carolina wasted no time extending its lead in the third. Ryleigh Heck saved a long pass and returned the favor to Erin Matson with a great dish right on the doorstep. Meanwhile, the Orange didn’t attempt a shot for the entire quarter.
UNC’s sixth and final score also notched the first career hat trick for Heck. On the other hand, it took 59 minutes before Syracuse got on the board. Following a short corner, Eefke van den Nieuwenhof fired a laser to avoid the ‘Cuse’s second shutout of the season.
Overall, the Tar Heels tallied a 20-12 shot advantage with 14 landing on target compared to five. SU allowed the most goals since 2013 and suffered its worst loss in a decade. The Orange are now 12-3 with a 2-2 conference record and a 4-3 mark against ranked foes.
Syracuse is off for the rest of the weekend before returning home to face current No. 7 Louisville at 6 p.m. on Friday.