For three straight years, no team has been able to defeat North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. On Friday afternoon, Northwestern changed that.
No. 7 NU field hockey came away with a 2-0 statement win over No. 8 North Carolina in their first-round NCAA Tournament game in Iowa City. In the teams’ first matchup since 1993, the Wildcats outshot the Tarheels 13-6 and pulled out the win behind goals from Ana Medina Garcia and Maddie Zimmer.
UNC, which has won three consecutive national titles, had made 12 straight NCAA tournament quarterfinals as one of the most dominant programs in college field hockey. Northwestern brought an end to that reign.
The first half was a defensive battle between the two teams, who combined for just six shots and three corners through the first 30 minutes.
Northwestern came out and controlled the pace in the second half. On NU’s third corner of the game nine minutes into the second half, Maren Seidel had the opportunity to put NU on the board. However, her beautiful corner goal was no good because it wasn’t deflected and didn’t hit the 14-inch board. The score remained 0-0 through the end of the third.
Just over three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats scored the first goal of the day. Lauren Wadas found Clara Roth crossfield, whose shot bounced off the post but was scooped up by Ana Medina Garcia, who found the back of the net for her third goal of the season.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE HUSTLE PLAY— Northwestern FH (@NUFHCats) November 12, 2021
Ana Medina Garcia on the rebound to give the 'Cats the lead pic.twitter.com/zEm6I9cTkq
With under four minutes to play, the Tar Heels pulled their goalie Abigail Taylor. Just a few moments later, Maddie Zimmer came downfield and drove one into the empty net to seal Northwestern’s 2-0 win.
SKUBISZ WITH THE SAVE AND ZIMMER GOES COAST ➡️ COAST. SHEESH pic.twitter.com/Vh9Fb9IpSK— Northwestern FH (@NUFHCats) November 12, 2021
Northwestern moves on to face their current host, No. 2 Iowa, on Sunday at 12 p.m. CST — a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal game in which the Hawkeyes eliminated NU from the tournament with a 3-1 victory. The ‘Cats downed then-undefeated UI in the teams’ matchup earlier this year, but Northwestern hasn’t advanced past the second round of the tournament since 1994.