CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Three different Tar Heel players scored in the first 15 minutes as No. 1 North Carolina defeated Wake Forest, 4-0, Friday afternoon in ACC Field Hockey Championship semifinal action at Francis E. Henry Stadium.
Defending champion North Carolina advances to Sunday's final when it will attempt to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 1997, the last time that the Tar Heels won the conference championship in Chapel Hill. Game time at Henry Stadium is 1 p.m.
"We are excited to get there [to the final]," said North Carolina coach Karen Shelton. "It's not easy to do; everybody knows that the ACC tournament is the preliminary to the Final Four and is like a practice Final Four. To have to play a tough Wake Forest team and then turn around and play the winner of this game [between Maryland and Virginia], it is not easy but it is fantastic preparation."
With the win, North Carolina (19-1, 5-0 ACC) evens up the tournament series record with Wake Forest (8-11, 1-4) at 5-5 and improves to 39-13 in the event.
North Carolina's offense, the top-scoring squad in the country, got rolling early with a goal by sophomore Loren Shealy in the second minute of play. Senior Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany sneaked a pass along the backline and found Shealy in front of the cage for her 14th goal of the season.
Sophomore Charlotte Craddock tallied her 20th goal in 14 games played this year in the eighth minute. Craddock, averaging a conference-leading 1.46 goals per game, converted a penalty corner with assists from freshman Emily Wold and senior Caitlin Van Sickle.
North Carolina was not able to score again before the break, but it held Wake Forest to one shot in the final 24 minutes to preserve the 3-0 halftime lead.
The offense continued to produce in the second half for North Carolina. Junior Rachel Magerman took a pass from Wold, settled the ball to the right of the cage and fired a shot through Wake Forest goalkeeper Valerie Dahmen's legs for her second goal of the season and the 4-0 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Wake Forest earned four penalty corners in the second half but was not able to take advantage of the opportunities.
The Tar Heels outshot the Demon Deacons 15-8 and both teams earned four penalty corners.
UNC sophomore goalkeeper Sassi Ammer made two saves in the win. Wake Forest's Kaitlyn Ruhf had one save in 35 minutes of action in the first half, and Dahmen had two stops in the second half.
More information on the 2012 ACC Field Hockey Championship can be found online at http://theacc.co/FHChamp.
No. 1 UNC 4, No. 5 Wake Forest 0
Scoring: UNC – Loren Shealy (Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany), 1:10; UNC – Charlotte Craddock (Caitlin Van Sickle), 8:10; UNC – Katie Plyler (Kelsey Kolojejchick), 14:38; UNC – Rachel Magerman (Emily Wold), 50:23
Shots: UNC 15 (5/10), Wake 8 (3/5)
Penalty corners: UNC 4 (1/3), Wake 4 (0/4)
Saves: UNC 2 (Sassi Ammer, 70:00, 0 goals allowed, 2 saves); Wake 3 (Kaitlyn Ruff 35:00, 3 goals allowed, 1 save; Valerie Dahmen 35:00, 1 goal allowed, 2 saves)
Records: UNC 19-1, Wake 9-11