Sophomore forward Erin Matson scored four goals to lead an explosive offensive effort as the top-ranked and undefeated North Carolina field hockey team beat No. 7 Boston College 6-3 Friday afternoon at Kentner Stadium to earn one more game in the 2019 season.
With the NCAA semifinals victory, the Tar Heels earn the right to play on Sunday for the program’s eighth NCAA title.
Carolina (22-0) will face Princeton on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Kentner Stadium in the national championship game. Carolina is looking for its second crown, and second undefeated season, in a row.
The total of nine goals by the two teams tied the most ever scored in an NCAA semifinals game. Carolina’s six goals equaled the team’s highest total in NCAA Tournament play, one they last hit in the 2013.
On a cool, partly sunny afternoon at Wake Forest’s home field, Carolina took the field for its 11th consecutive NCAA semifinals appearance. BC, playing in its first-ever final four, jumped out to an early lead, scoring just 54 seconds into the game on a penalty corner. The Tar Heels answered in the seventh minute, with the first demonstration of the stellar passing that would serve Carolina well all day. On a fast break, Matson sent the ball to senior Catherine Hayden at the right of the cage. Hayden dove to push the ball past the keeper to sophomore Riley Fulmer, and Fulmer finished to tie the score at 1-1.
Early in the second period, the Eagles again took the lead. Margo Carlin carried the ball into the circle and lifted it over Carolina goalkeeper Amanda Hendry for her second goal of the game and a 2-1 BC lead. The Tar Heels answered less than two minutes later on their first penalty corner of the game. Matson scored on a direct shot, assisted by seniors Megan DuVernois (insert) and Feline Guenther (stick stop).
In the 21st minute, Carolina scored again to take the lead for good. With three defenders on her, Matson pass the ball to Hayden on the left baseline. Hayden sent it across the cage to Creatore, who dove to deflect the ball in for a 3-2 lead. Carolina added one more to make it 4-2 at halftime. DuVernois rifled a shot from the top of the circle and Matson got her stick on it in front of the cage to direct it past BC keeper Sarah Dwyer and into the goal.
Midway through the third quarter, Guenther drove the baseline to the right of the cage and sent a pass out to Matson in front of the goal. Matson sent a shot through the legs of a BC defender and past the keeper to make it 5-2 Carolina.
Matson added one more in the 56th minute for her second four-goal performance of the season. Creatore sent a cross from the right side across the cage. The ball deflected off a defender and then to Matson, who sent a shot from the left side past the diving keeper and in to the right side of the cage for a 6-2 lead.
The Eagles would add a late goal, scoring on a penalty corner with 2:15 to play in the game. It was BC’s only shot of the second half.
For the game, Carolina led 12-6 in shots. The teams were tied with four penalty corners each.
The game was the third meeting of the season between the two teams and a rematch of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, which Carolina won 3-1 on Nov. 10.