North Carolina defeated Penn State, 3-0, to win the Division I Field Hockey Championship November 18 at Maryland’s Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.
The senior-laden Tar Heel squad claimed the program’s fifth overall national title with a 24-0 mark. Just the fifth team in NCAA tournament history to capture the crown without a loss or tie, North Carolina broke school records for goals scored (102) and shutouts (16) in a season. The 24 victories also tied a school record.
North Carolina’s march to the program’s first championship in 10 years began just three minutes into the contest when freshman Katelyn Falgowski took a feed from senior Jesse Gey to register her ninth goal on the season. Senior co-captain Rachel Dawson extended the Tar Heels’ lead in the 44th minute on an assist from Falgowski. The score gave Dawson 56 career goals and tied her for seventh all-time at North Carolina.
Danielle Forword tallied North Carolina’s final score of the game with about seven minutes left.
“We started this campaign a long time ago. From the first practices in preseason until now, I’ve had a team that’s remained remarkably focused and hard-working,” North Carolina head coach Karen Shelton said.
Shelton also credited the leadership provided by her seven seniors. “We have a lot of talent on this team — we knew that coming in — but you have to have that leadership.”
The Nittany Lions finished the season 16-8. Penn State was appearing in the title game for the second time in program history.
“I just want to reiterate how proud I am of the team playing in the national championship game and also the effort they put out today,” Penn State head coach Charlene Morrett said. “You get to this level and it’s going to be a battle. We started out possibly a little nervous and then settled in a little bit and had a great effort toward the last 20 minutes of the game.”
Connecticut 1 1 — 2
North Carolina 3 1 — 4
First half: NC — Illse Davids (Jesse Gey), 5:48; NC — Danielle Forword (Laree Beans), 16:02; NC — Britt van Beek (unassisted), 26:13; C — Nikki Harmony (unassisted), 34:26.
Second half: C — Lauren Aird (unassisted), 35:17; NC — Forword (unassisted), 56:57.
Shots: Connecticut 7, North Carolina 11. Goalkeeper saves: Connecticut (Andrea Mainiero) 2, North Carolina (Brianna O’Donnell) 2. Penalty corners: Connecticut 4, North Carolina 4.
Penn State 1 1 — 2
Wake Forest 0 0 — 0
First half: PS — Mallory Weisen (Jen Long and Allison Scola), 14:03.
Second half: PS — Shaun Banta (unassisted), 59:28.
Shots: Penn State 4, Wake Forest 8. Goalkeeper saves: Penn State (Jen Beaumont) 4, Wake Forest (Crystal Duffield), 1. Penalty corners: Penn State 4, Wake Forest 3.
Penn State 0 0 — 0
North Carolina 1 2 — 3
First half: NC — Katelyn Falgowski (Jesse Gey), 3:10.
Second half: NC — Rachel Dawson (Falgowski), 43:18; Danielle Forword (Dawson), 63:16.
Shots: Penn State 3, North Carolina 12. Goalkeeper saves: Penn State (Jen Beaumont) 5, North Carolina (Brianna O’Donnell) 1. Penalty corners: Penn State 2, North Carolina 6.