Tar Heels Open ACC FH Play With Shutout Win

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Second-ranked North Carolina stayed undefeated and opened Atlantic Coast Conference field hockey play with a win, defeating No. 4 Louisville 3-0 Friday afternoon at the Cardinals’ Trager Stadium. The shutout was the fourth in a row for the Tar Heels, who have outscored opponents 20-0 over the past four games.
 
Next up for UNC is a return home to Karen Shelton Stadium for a conference matchup with Wake Forest next Friday (Sept. 23). Game time is 4 p.m.
 
Playing in her first ACC game, freshman Ashley Sessa scored in the ninth minute of play to give UNC the only goal it would need to lock up the win. She carried the ball into the circle, drove out from the baseline and through three defenders to the front of the cage, then sent an emphatic shot past Louisville keeper Sasha Elliott to make it 1-0.
 
That’s where the score stood at halftime, after two periods in which Carolina outshot Louisville 5-0. UNC got another early in the third quarter when Lisa Slinkert picked up a rebound and, while Elliottt was still on the ground from her previous save, tapped it into the cage for a 2-0 Tar Heel lead.
 
Just 26 seconds into the fourth period the Tar Heels added another as senior Paityn Wirth sent a pass to the front of the cage looking for a deflection from freshman Ryleigh Heck. The ball never made it to Heck, though, instead bouncing in off the stick of a Louisville defender. The score was the first of the season for Wirth, UNC’s assists leader, and brings to 12 the number of Tar Heels with at least one goal this season.
 
As they have done in every game this season, Abigail Taylor and Kylie Walbert split time in goal for the Tar Heels, with Taylor starting against Louisville. She didn’t see a shot in the first two quarters, but Walbert faced three shots on goal and nine total shots after halftime. Walbert finished the day with three saves to preserve the shutout.
 
Elliott, the reigning NFHCA National Defensive Player of the Week, made a season-high nine saves for the Cardinals.
 
UNC drew just one penalty corner on the day, a season low. Louisville had six.
 
No. 2 North Carolina 3, No. 4 Louisville 0
 
Scoring: UNC – Ashley Sessa, 8:11; UNC – Lisa Slinkert, 38:37; UNC – Paityn Wirth, 46:26
Shots: UNC 14 (4/1/5/4), UL 9 (0/0/5/4)
Penalty corners: UNC 1 (0/0/1/0), UL 6 (0/0/3/3)
Goalkeeper saves: UNC 3 (Abigail Taylor, 30:00. 0 saves, 0 goals allowed; Kylie Walbert, 30:00, 3 saves, 0 goals allowed), UL 9 (Sasha Elliott, 60:00, 9 saves, 3 goals allowed)
Records: UNC 7-0 (1-0 ACC), Louisville 6-1 (0-1 ACC)
 
 
 


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Kennedy Cliggett

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