photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications
They say history repeats itself, and they couldn’t be more right. For the ninth time in the last nine years, UNC field hockey is heading to the final four.
This marks 22 final fours for North Carolina as a program.
“I knew our team could do it, but in the beginning we were a little worried because we weren’t playing like we are now," freshman Cassie Sumfest said.
“But we really came together as a team and we’re really meshing well, and we’re just really excited.”
The team left Wednesday for Louisville — the same place as the ACC tournament — to have a day to get settled in preparation for their matchup Friday.
For UNC, playing on Louisville’s turf for the second time in a three week span may just come in handy.
“I hope it might give us a slight advantage,” Shelton said.
“We are battle tested on that field, we liked it, and we had good success."
While the team did endure it's fair share of bruises — Marissa Creatore and Malin Evert had to get stitches after the ball took a tumultuous bounce last time in Louisville — on the fast Cardinals turf, the Tar Heels still feel like the experience on the field can play in their favor.
"We've been there before, we know how to play on their turf, we know what it feels like," Sumfest said.
"I think we're just ready to go out and play."
The Tar Heels will utilize that advantage against a potent Connecticut team on Friday. The Huskies lead the nation in scoring at 4.63 goals per game, so the UNC defense will need to be in top form this weekend.
“We always worry about defense, we always focus on it,” Shelton said
The Tar Heels have been led by their defense of late, outscoring opponents 7-2 in the NCAA tournament and 8-2 in the ACC tournament. They'll need to have all systems clicking this weekend in hopes to bring home a title.
The Tar Heels kick off at 2 PM today vs the Huskies.