CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The second-ranked North Carolina field hockey team improved to 2-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play and 11-1 overall with a 3-2 win Saturday over No. 15 Wake Forest (4-6, 1-2 ACC). On a rainy afternoon at Francis E. Henry Stadium, UNC got goals from Charlotte Craddock, Katie Ardrey and Emma Bozek in the hard-fought victory.
"Like I told the girls, I'm absolutely delighted with the win," UNC coach Karen Shelton said. "ACC wins don't come easily, ever. I thought both teams played hard and fought well against each other. Under the conditions, I couldn't be happier.
"We feel like we left some goals out there, but all of what we do all season long is a process. We're working to get better. We're look at videotape and we'll grow from this game as we hope to from every game."
Wake tied it up in the 26th minute, also on a penalty corner. After UNC goalkeeper Sassi Ammer saved the initial Demon Deacon shot, junior Taylor Rhea grabbed the rebound and worked it to the right of Ammer to even the score at 1-1.
Ardrey's goal put UNC ahead for good in the 31st minute. She dribbled in and shot from the front of the cage for her second score of the year. Carolina went up 3-1 just before halftime when Craddock carried the ball downfield and then passed it ahead to Bozek, who took it just inside the circle and sent a hard shot into the right side of the cage.
Wake's second goal came six minutes into the second half, in a manner similar to the Demon Deacons' first score. On a penalty corner, Ammer saved the first Wake shot, but junior Jess McFadyen came in from the left side the grab the rebound and put it back, pulling her team within a goal.
Although both teams had chances in the final 29 minutes - Craddock twice had shots hit the crossbar - neither could manage another score. The one-goal Tar Heel win marked the fifth time in a row that Carolina has beaten Wake by that margin. The teams' first meeting of the year, a non-conference match-up, was a 2-1 UNC win at Wake on Sept. 16.
UNC finished with 23 shots to Wake Forest's 10 and eight penalty corners to the Deacs' five. Ammer made five saves while Wake's Kaitlyn Ruhf had 11.
Rain fell through most of the match. "I don't think it affected us that much, and for me, I like conditions to be different and tough," Shelton said. "We don't want it to be easy all the way through the regular season, and today wasn't easy. It was hard."
Next up for the Tar Heels is another home game - this one with a better weather forecast - on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams are 8-1 and off to their best start in school history, and the forecast is for sun and a high of 75 degrees. There is no charge for admission to Henry Stadium, and fans will receive free UNC field hockey posters as well as having the chance to compete in a halftime trivia contest to win UNC field hockey prizes.
No. 2 UNC 3, No. 15 Wake Forest 2
Shots: UNC 23 (13/10), WFU 10 (7/3)
Penalty corners: UNC 8 (3/5), WFU 5 (3/2)
Saves: WFU 11 (Kaitlyn Ruhf, 70:00, 11 saves, 3 goals allowed), UNC 5 (Sassi Ammer, 70:00, 5 saves, 2 goals allowed)
Records: UNC 11-1 (2-0 ACC), WFU 4-6 (1-2 ACC)