UNC, ‘Cuse Set for Sunday’s NCAA Field Hockey Quarterfinals

GREENSBORO, NC (theACC.com) – Two teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I field hockey championship Friday by scoring many goals in their tournament openings.

Top-seeded North Carolina topped their visit to Delaware 5-1, while Syracuse avenged a regular-season loss to Princeton with a 5-2 win at College Park, Maryland.

UNC (18-0) will host Saint Joseph’s (16-4) on Sunday afternoon (an hour earlier than originally scheduled by the NCAA). Syracuse (16-5) has a 1 p.m. date with No. 2 Maryland (18-3) on the terps on home field for the second year in a row.

Sunday’s winners advance to the NCAA semifinals on Friday in Storrs, Connecticut. The ACC is aiming to place at least one team in the Final Four of NCAA Women’s Field Hockey for the 33rd time in the past 34 years.

A total of five ACC teams opened Friday’s ACC tournament play. Saint Joseph’s beat Wake Forest 3-1 in Chapel Hill, while Iowa beat Virginia 2-1 in Evanston, Illinois, and Louisville lost 5-0 to Penn State in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The full 2022 NCAA field hockey championship bracket can be found here.

A look at Friday’s UNC and Syracuse wins, as provided by each school’s Office of Athletics Communications:

North Carolina 5, Delaware 2
After falling early, the premier field hockey team from North Carolina roared back with a 5-1 win over Delaware in Friday afternoon’s NCAA tournament Karen Shelton Stadion.

The Blue Hens (10-12) scored after just eight seconds from a penalty corner to take a 1-0 lead, but UNC stormed back with five goals unanswered after finding their way midway through the first quarter. Kennedy Cliggett scored two goals for the Tar Heels, and Ryleigh Heck, Ashley Sessa and Lisa Slinkert added a goal each.

“I’m so proud of our team and want to congratulate Delaware on an outstanding season,” said the UNC coach Karen Shelton said. “They started hot and we fell from behind for only the second time this year but I thought our heels responded so well to losing a goal.”

After a disappointing first-round exit last season, the Tar Heels are playing for their 26thth Journey to the NCAA Semifinals. UNC and Saint Joseph’s met in Chapel Hill, Carolina’s last home game of the regular season on October 23, with the Tar Heels winning 6-0.

“When you get into the last eight, everyone is good,” Shelton said. “We must have our A game.”

Syracuse 5, Princeton 2
The No. 8 Syracuse University women’s field hockey team, trailing by a goal twice in the first half, defeated the No. 7 Princeton 5-2 in a rain-soaked field hockey and women’s field hockey complex on Friday afternoon.

Syracuse (16-5) leveled the game 1-1 and 2-2 in the first half, including a last-second goal Lana Hamilton before the break. Charlotte von Vries scored twice for the orange Quirin Comans provided two assists. Eefke van den Nieuwenhof chipped during a penalty stroke Sabine van den Eijnden added a late insurance target.

The Orange advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year with the program’s 12th first-round win. Sunday’s game against Maryland will be another rematch, this time last season’s quarterfinals, also at College Park. The host Terps prevailed 2-1 against Syracuse in that meeting.

Princeton (14-4) scored goals from Claire Donovan and Grace Schulze, who also added an assist. Gabby Andretta made a save while Robyn Thompson faced 10 Syracuse shots on goal and stopped four of those attempts.

The Orange turned the tables on Princeton after a 5-1 loss away in New Jersey in early September. Syracuse improved to 8-5 against ranked opponents this season, including 2-1 in the month of November. The win was the sixth for Syracuse under head coach Ange Bradley against teams ranked seventh in the NFHCA Coaches Poll.