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No. 3 Tar Heels defeat No.1 Syracuse in OT
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Gab Major scored in a scramble in front of the goal with 6:43 remaining in the first overtime to give North Carolina a 2-1 win over top-seeded Syracuse in the 2015 ACC Field Hockey Championship game.
With the win, North Carolina earned its 19th ACC Championship title and receives the conference’s automatic qualification bid to the NCAA tournament.
“I’m very happy for the team and to represent the University of North Carolina with another ACC Championship,” said North Carolina head coach Karen Shelton. “It was a hard fought game, and a gritty performance by our team and theirs as well. Both teams had a chances to win, and we got the one that counted.”
North Carolina’s Casey Di Nardo scored the lone goal of the first half with just over 16 minutes left to play in the period. Di Nardo dribbled past a group of Syracuse defenders and struck the ball from the top of the circle past Syracuse goalie Jess Jecko to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Tar Heels entering the break.
The Orange knotted the score just under nine minutes into the second half when Roos Weirs converted a penalty stroke past North Carolina goalkeeper Shannon Johnson. The score remained tied at one goal apiece, sending the game into overtime.
Weirs had a chance to give the Orange a 2-1 win when she took another stroke midway through the overtime period, but Johnson made the save to preserve the tie.
The game winner came when Major slipped the ball past Jecko in a scramble in front of the cage, giving the Tar Heels their 18th win of the season and first ACC Championship since 2012.
“I was very, very proud of our group,” said Shelton. “I just think that they played their hearts out, and I’m delighted for them to have such a thrilling victory and to feel what it’s like to win a championship.”
Syracuse held a 22-14 advantage in shots and a 7-3 edge in penalty corners. Johnson finished with eight saves for the Tar Heels, while Jecko recorded five saves for Syracuse.
North Carolina senior captain Emily Wold was named MVP of the tournament after scoring one goal and adding an assist for the Tar Heels. Wold played nearly every minute in the three games, holding the team together in the center midfield position.
This was the third time in ACC Field Hockey Championship history that three overtime games were played in a single tournament.
2015 All-ACC Tournament Team
AshLeigh Sebia, Boston College
Ymke Rose Gote, Boston College
Nina Notman, North Carolina
Julia Young, North Carolina
Shannon Johnson, North Carolina
Emily Wold, North Carolina (MVP)
Alyssa Manley, Syracuse
Lies Lagerweij, Syracuse
Serra Degnan, Syracuse
Rebecca Holden, Virginia
Taylor Brown, Virginia