CARDS FIELD HOCKEY FALLS IN FINAL TO UNC
The weather was ideal for the ACC Field Hockey Tournament finals yesterday in Chapel Hill and so was the start for the University of Louisville squad. Unfortunately for Cardinals fans, the ending wasn't what was hoped for, as UNC overcame an early UofL 2-0 lead by putting four goals on the Cards in the final three quarters and taking the 4-2 win.
The Cards controlled the action on Karen Shelton Field early in the match and that dominance paid off midway through the first quarter when freshman Charlie van Oirschot maneuvered the ball close to the goal and fed Katie Schneider on the left side of the cage. The San Diego native fired a sot past UNC goalkeeper Amanda Hendry to give Louisville the first score. And, that's how the first half ended, the Cards holding a 1-0 lead
It was Schneider's turn again early in the second quarter. Louisville drew a penalty corner and Katie followed up on an Alli Bitting attempt with a tap into the net to make it 2-0 Cards.
Little did we know it at the time, but that was the Cards last score. UNC received a penalty corner about four minutes later and their star Erin Matson fired a shot past Cardinal keeper Hollyn Barr to cut the Cards lead in half. The squad went into halftime with that 2-1 tally, Louisville had a 6-3 shot advantage over UNC.
The TarHeels really picked up their offensive attack intensity after the break and that paid off when they picked up the tying goal four minutes into action off the stick of Bryn Boylan. They forged ahea with about two minutes left in the third when Madison Orobono found success with a shot.
Louisville had multiple opportunities to tie it up asthe third quarter wound down, getting four penalty corner attempt in a two-minute stretch...but the score remained the same.
The match remained at 3-2 in the fourth until the final minute. To increase offensive chances, the Cards pulled Hollyn Barr from the game with about three minutes to go. Nothing seemed to work, though, and UNC was able to eventually draw another penalty corner and it was Matson again who put the final nail in the casket when her shot eent in to create the final 4-2 score.
So, the fall season of 2020 Field Hockey ends with the over-achieving Cardinal squad surprising the rest of the league and making it to the finals of the ACC Tournament. A Cardinal squad that has a bright future and plenty of scoring options, a stout defense and quick-strike capabilities. What will we see in the spring? That's anyone guess right now, as far as competition opponents, venues and the NCAA Tournament, but I'm encouraged by this UofL squads talents and depth. They made it to the finals of a tournament that featured the best Field Hockey teams in NCAA College Field Hockey and will hopefully get the chance to expand upon those successes and get a high-seed in the NCAA Tournament this spring and create many more exciting moments in the sun at Trager Stadium and at other venues.
Coach Sowry comments on the contest:
"Congratulations to Coach Shelton and Carolina, they have a fantastic team and they know how to win championships," said UofL head coach Justine Sowry. "I'm really proud of our group right now, they played superb hockey in the first half, but the third quarter hurt us. They came at us and we couldn't get the ball out of the backfield. We went away from our game plan, so that gave an opportunity for the momentum to shift in Carolina's favor. We still had chances and opportunities - they took theirs and we were unable to capitalize on ours. I'm just really proud of the fight, resilience and toughness that our team has shown this season," said Sowry. "We deserved to be in this final. We've come a long way. We've grown so much as a program and we're not done yet. It's going to be a bright future for us."
We look forward to the spring as we now move on to the upcoming ACC Women's Soccer Tournament, the start of Louisville WBB and, hopefully, more success for those in the red and black.
Although the final results haven't been posted "official" yet, it's rumored Jared edged out Curtis Franklin for the Cardinal Couple ACC Field Hockey Tournament Pick 'Em contest. He was the only entrant that had UNC winning the event, so the tiebreaker never came into play. He will fill you in more in his column here tomorrow and reveal to us which of the prizes he'll select -- a date with me -- an hour of technology talk with Jeff and Case -- or...a photo-shoot with himself.