No. 14 Delaware Field Hockey Eliminated From NCAA Tournament with 6-2 Loss at No. 3 North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 14 University of Delaware field hockey team held its own Saturday afternoon against No. 3 North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Francis E. Henry Stadium, but a two-minute span deflated the Blue Hens in a 6-2 loss to bring a successful season to a close.
The loss ended one of the most successful seasons in Delaware history as the Blue Hens, the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament champion and an NCAA preliminary round win over Liberty, finished the season with a 17-5 record. North Carolina (17-5) advanced to the second round to face Wake Forest Sunday. The Demon Deacons downed Old Dominion 3-2 in the other the other first round game Saturday.
After Delaware tied the game at 1-1 when freshman Esmée Peet (Zeewolde, The Netherlands) posted Delaware’s first goal of the game off of a penalty corner in the 13th minute, the Tar Heels stormed back with three straight goals in a span of just over two minutes to take an insurmountable 4-1 lead into half.
The Tar Heels' Nina Notman collected one goal and teammate Charlotte Craddock tallied twice over a two-minute span from 17:48 to 19:51 to put the game away.
Delaware, which had an eight-game win streak snapped, was able to regroup during halftime, but gave up Craddock’s third goal of the game in the 48th minute to go down, 5-1.
Less than a minute later, senior Toni Popinko (Oxford, N.J.) registered her seventh goal of the year on a rebound after a save from Sassi Ammer to pull the Hens to within three at 5-2.
UNC’s Marta Malmberg gave the Heels the final four-tally lead at 6-2 in the 54th minute on a shot just left of the cage.
Scher finished the game with six saves while UNC’s Sassi Ammer collected all three team saves in 51:56 minutes of play.
The Blue Hens, who were competing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009, complete a 2013 season where they were both Colonial Athletic Association regular season and Tournament champions. Delaware also boasted the CAA Co-Coach of the Year in Rolf van de Kerkhof and Player and Rookie of the Year in Peet.
Head Coach Rolf van de Kerkhof – “I’d like to congratulate Delaware field hockey on a great season and it is the first of many to come. With that, we have to continue to build our foundation for a brighter future for our program. Today we had a great game against a top, respected program in North Carolina. I thought we hung with them for quite a bit, but halfway through the first half we had a bad three or four minutes where they were able to expose us very well. After that, it was hard to get everybody back on the same page. At halftime, we were able to regroup and we played better in the second half. As a program, we have taken several steps forward and by playing a Carolina team today, we have been exposed to what we are doing well and what we need to do better the next time around. A sincere thank you to the seniors who have helped us be who we are today. I am excited for the returning players to continue to build from our learning and a joyful 2013 season.
· Delaware finishes the 2013 season with the most wins in program history (17). The Hens also finish the season tying a school record with 22 games played in a single season.
· UD is now 4-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
· The Blue Hens snapped a season-best eight -game winning streak.
· Only one other time this season did Delaware allow more than three goals; the Blue Hens previously posted a 5-0 loss to then 12th-ranked Penn State.
· Senior Heather Hartman ends her career with 19 career assists, a mark that places her ninth all-time in Delaware history.
· Fifth-year senior Sarah Scher wrapped up her career with 27 straight starts. She played all 1,543:05 minutes this season for the Hens and finished with 103 saves while allowing just 34 goals. She finishes her career with 190 saves.
· UNC holds the all-time series lead between the two programs at 5-1. Today’s game marked the first time the Blue Hens ever played in Chapel Hill.