Hawkeyes Fall to No. 1 North Carolina

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina — The University of Iowa field hockey team suffered its first loss of the season Sunday at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, as the fell, 4-1, to top-ranked North Carolina at Kentner Stadium on the campus of Wake Forest University.

The Tar Heels (1-1) struck first scoring off of a tip from a corner in the 11th minute, and scored again in the 30th minute to give North Carolina a 2-0 advantage. Strong defense and goaltending by senior Alexandra Pecora kept the Hawkeyes in the match as they fought off seven shots in the first half to keep the score at 2-0.

Iowa (1-1) made some changes going into the second half, which resulted into scoring a quick second-half goal.

“Being down two goals at halftime was a challenge,” said UI head coach Lisa Cellucci. “We made tactical adjustments at half and were able to get an early goal.”

Redshirt senior Natalie Cafone scored her second goal of the season off of a rebound in the 37th minute to cut the Tar Heels’ lead to 2-1. Senior Sophie Plasteras took a shot that was saved by North Carolina’s goalkeeper, but Cafone was there to put the second opportunity in the cage.

The Tar Heels added goals in the 57th and 69th minute to secure the win. Iowa finished the match with two shots, and Pecroa made one save in defeat.

“North Carolina is an outstanding team and deserve its No. 1 ranking,” said Cellucci. “Our inability to win the 50-50 balls and our lack of depth got the best of us late in the second half.”

The Hawkeyes return to Iowa City for their home opener on Friday as they host Fairfield at Grant Field at 3 p.m. (CT). Admission is free to the public.