US national team and collegiate hockey leading scorer Erin Matson scored in extra-time as North Carolina won their third consecutive national title with a 4-3 win over Michigan on Sunday night.
Victory in the NCAA field hockey championship game saw the Tar Heels keep their 37-0 record in tact at the Karen Shelton Stadium on the UNC campus as the No 1 seeds won their ninth national title under the revered coach.
No team had won three straight field hockey titles since Wake Forest in 2002-04, but North Carolina secured the feat after Matson’s double. Matson once again proved the standout player in the championship and finished as leading scorer, notching her 30th strike to seal victory over No.2 seeded Michigan.
“What a heck of a game,” said Shelton, US collegiate field hockey’s most successful coach. “I’m so proud of our kids, but I also have to congratulate the University of Michigan. They played so hard and so tough. They challenged us. We like to play a little slower and a little more methodically but you can’t do that against them – the pressure comes so fast.”
The championship finale was played out in front of 450 fans in the restricted capacity, with many more students lining vantage points.
“The crowd was fantastic,” added Shelton. “It’s very special for all of us to represent the University of North Carolina and to win a national championship on our home field is something that’s pretty darned special. I know the kids take pride in defending their home and they did that so well tonight.”
The last time a North Carolina sporting side won a championship on its campus came when the women’s soccer team, led by Mia Hamm, beat George Mason in 1993.
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