The UNC field hockey team (23-1) will play for the 2012 NCAA Championship Sunday, taking on Princeton at 1 p.m. at Powhatan Sports Complex in Norfolk, Va. Carolina is competing in the championship game for the fourth year in a row and the 15th time in school history.
Carolina advanced to the final with a 6-1 win over Syracuse in the semifinals on Friday. Princeton (20-1) advanced with a 3-2 overtime win against Maryland.
UNC has won the NCAA title on six occasions: in 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2007 and 2009. The Tar Heels have lost the championship game in overtime the past two seasons.
On the air
Sunday's championship game will be streamed live on NCAA.com. Live stats also will be available, both at NCAA.com and GoHeels.com. Fans also can follow the Tar Heels on Twitter (UNCFieldHockey) and Facebook (UNCfieldhockey).
Fast Facts on UNC
2012 record: 23-1 overall, 5-0 ACC
Current NFHCA poll ranking: No. 1
Head Coach: Karen Shelton (32nd season at UNC)
Record at UNC and overall: 550-139-9
Staff: Grant Fulton, Associate Head Coach; Guy Cathro, Assistant Coach; Jackie Kintzer, Volunteer Assistant Coach; Teryn Brill, Director of Operations
Team Captains: Caitlin Van Sickle, Captain; Kelsey Kolojejchick, Co-Captain; Katie Plyler, Co-Captain
2011 Finish: 23-2 (5-0 ACC), ACC Champion, NCAA Runner-Up
2011 NCAA Tournament: Beat Ohio 4-0; Beat Michigan 5-1; Beat UConn 4-3 in 2OT; Lost to Maryland 3-2 in OT
NCAA Titles: Six (1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2007, 2009)
The Tar Heels reached several marks in Friday's semifinal game:
- Sophomore Charlotte Craddock set a school record for most goals by a sophomore, reaching 25 for the season. The previous record was 24.
- Karen Shelton coached her 550th career victory. She has an overall record of 550-139-9 in 32 years as a head coach, all at UNC.
- Friday's win was the program's 50th in NCAA Tournament play and gave Shelton the record for NCAA Tournament wins by a coach with 50. She also holds the mark for games coached with 72.
- UNC played its 72nd NCAA Tournament game and now owns the record for most NCAA games played. (ODU has 71.)
Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament
- UNC is making its 29th appearance in the NCAA Tournament field. The only program to have made more appearances is ODU, which made its 30th this year.
- UNC is playing in the championship game for the fourth year in a row, the fifth time in the past six years and the 15th time in school history.
- UNC is the top overall seed in the tournament for the second year in a row.
- The Tar Heels are 50-22 in the NCAA Tournament, a winning percentage of .694, fourth among all programs.
- Seniors Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany, Kelsey Kolojejchick and Caitlin Van Sickle will play in their fourth NCAA championship game on Sunday. All three were starters for the games in their freshman through junior years.
- Six players on the Tar Heels roster (Gaudioso Radvany, Kolojejchick, Van Sickle, Marta Malmberg, Katie Ardrey and goalkeeper Sassi Ammer) started the 2011 NCAA Tournament game. Ten members of this year's team played in that game.
- With 72 NCAA Tournament games, UNC now holds the record for most tournament games played. By reaching the semifinals, Carolina moved ahead of Old Dominion and took over the record.
- UNC coach Karen Shelton also holds the record for most NCAA games coached with 72.
- Friday's semifinal win was UNC's 50th in NCAA Tournament play, moving the Tar Heels into a tie for second on that list. Old Dominion also has won 50. Maryland leads all schools with 53.
- Seniors Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany, Kelsey Kolojejchick and Caitlin Van Sickle now hold the program record for career games played. Friday's win over Syracuse was the 96th game of their careers, breaking the old record of 94 games played. Van Sickle has started all 96 and holds the record for career starts.
- The Tar Heels are quite familiar with the site of this weekend's games. UNC plays a home-and-home series each year with Old Dominion, so visits Norfolk, Va., at least once each fall. Prior to the final four, Carolina was last at Powhatan Sports Complex on Oct. 26, when UNC beat ODU 3-1.
- UNC's total of 112 goals this year is a program record, surpassing the 102 scored by the 2007 team.
- UNC is 2-1 in overtime games this season.
- Nine Tar Heels will wrap up their collegiate careers in Norfolk this weekend. Katie Ardrey, Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany, Kelsey Kolojejchick, Katie Plyler and Caitlin Van Sickle all are fourth-year players. Emily Kole, Meghan Lyons and Caitlin Powers each have a year of eligibility remaining but are seniors academically and will graduate this spring. And Kate Nealon is an exchange student from Australia who is at UNC only for her senior year.
- Tar Heel coach Karen Shelton celebrated her birthday on Wednesday (Nov. 14) as UNC made the familiar bus trip up to Norfolk.
- With 25 goals this season (in just 18 games), Charlotte Craddock has broken the school record for goals by a sophomore (it was 24 is shared by Cindy Werley in 1994 and Kate Barber in 1995). She is tied for fifth on UNC's single-season goals list. The school record is 36.
- Six Tar Heels earned outright or shared ACC Player of the Week honors on a total of eight occasions this season. Sophomore Charlotte Craddock, who has won or shared the honor three times, is the only player honored more than once this season.
- In conference games only, Craddock led the ACC this season in points (17), points per game (3.4), goals (8), goals per game (8 in five games for a 1.6 average). Senior Katie Ardrey led the league in assists (6) and assists per game (1.2).
- With a 5-0 conference record, UNC finished undefeated in ACC play for the 13th time in school history and the second year in a row. .
- Freshmen Emma Bozek and Emily Wold and junior Marta Malmberg took time away from UNC in September to help the U.S. to a bronze medal at the Junior Pan American Games in Mexico.
- Emily Wold plays in jersey No. 9, which was retired for Rachel Dawson following the 2007 season, when Dawson was the National Player of the Year. Before she arrived at UNC this fall, Wold sought - and received - Dawson's blessing to wear the retired number.
UNC vs. Princeton
Carolina and Princeton last met a decade ago, when the players who will take the field Sunday were in elementary school. The two played on Nov. 3, 2002, in a neutral-site game in Norfolk, a day after UNC played at ODU. The Tigers won that game 4-2 and Carolina finished the year 9-11. That season was the last time UNC failed to make the NCAA Tournament.
- Carolina leads the overall series with Princeton 5-2, with three of those wins having come in NCAA Tournament play. UNC and Princeton met in the tournament three years in a row: first round in 1995 (UNC won 6-0), championship in 1996 (UNC won 3-0) and semifinal in 1997 (UNC won 4-3.) The Tar Heels won the national title all three of those years.
Scouting the Tigers
No. 2 Princeton (20-1) is playing in its sixth final four in program history. The Tigers are 20-16 all-time in NCAA Tournament play and making their eighth consecutive appearance in the field.
The 2012 Ivy League champions, the Tigers gave up just one goal in league play. The team boasts the conference's Offensive Player of the Year (Kathleen Sharkey), Defensive Player of the Year (Katie Reinprecht) and Rookie of the Year (Teresa Benvenuti).
Sharkey is the team's leader in goals with 37 on the season and leads the NCAA in goals per game and points per game. Allison Evans is the only other Tiger in double digits, but six other players have scored five or more. Reinprecht leads the team in assists with 18.
Seniors Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany, Kelsey Kolojejchick and Caitlin Van Sickle now hold the program record for career games played with 96 heading into the NCAA championship game.
The the old record was 94, held by Jana Withrow, who started every game at goalkeeper during her four years at UNC (1994-97), a span during which Carolina won three NCAA titles and four ACC titles.
Van Sickle has started each of those games (Kolojejchick missed just one start) and holds the school record for starts.
Tar Heels have registered hat tricks on six occasions this season, including the NCAA semifinal game. Four have been by sophomore Charlotte Craddock, who accomplished the feat in two conference games - at Duke and at Boston College - as well as in the season finale against Radford and the semifinal game against Syracuse. Sophomore Samantha Travers scored three in a neutral site win over Villanova on Sept. 9. Senior Kelsey Kolojejchick had a hat trick at home against VCU on Sept. 30.
Thirty-two Carolina players have earned first-team All-America honors on 52 occasions, but none has accomplished a feat within reach for senior Kelsey Kolojejchick. The midfielder from Larksville, Pa., was the first UNC freshman to earn first-team All-America honors, and also earned the recognition in her sophomore and junior seniors. She is now poised to become the first Tar Heel ever to earn first-team honors four times.
- Kolojejchick recently became the third player in UNC history and one of just nine in ACC history to earn all-conference honors all four years.
At Your Service
Kelsey Kolojejchick and Katie Ardrey both rank among the program's top four in career assists, Kolojejchick third on the list with 47 career assists and Ardrey fourth with 45. Ardrey is the team's usual inserter on penalty corners. Kolojejchick sometimes is the stick stopper, but also picks up plenty of assists from the field and has won the team's Keller Award for Open-Play Assists in each year of her career.
Both teamed with UNC's all-time assists leader, Katelyn Falgowski, who finished her career last November with a program-best total of 63.
- Kolojejchick leads the nation in assists with 22, an average of 1.0 per game. Ardrey led the way in ACC play with six in five games, an average of 1.20.
UNC's total of 112 goals this year is a program record, surpassing the 102 scored by the 2007 team, which was the last NCAA Division I team to finish the season undefeated (and is one of just five teams ever to do so).
This year's team took over the record in the NCAA Tournament first-round game against Stanford on Nov. 10 and continues to add to that total.
Sophomore Charlotte Craddock leads the team in goals with 25, but three others are in double digits: Loren Shealy with 16, Kelsey Kolojejchick with 15 and Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany with 12.
Fifteen different players have scored at least two goals each for UNC this season.
Bursting onto the Scene
Sophomore forward Charlotte Craddock's UNC career started slowly, but once she took the field it has been spectacular. Craddock missed the first six games of the season (she had signed a stick contract while playing for England's National Team, and had to sit out those games in order to become NCAA eligible) but has scored 25 goals in the 18 games in which she has played. In addition to her four hat tricks, she has five gamewinners and also has assisted on five goals, one the gamewinner in UNC's Oct. 26 win at ODU.
Noting Coach Karen Shelton
UNC coach Karen Shelton is in her 32nd season with the Tar Heels. Heading into the NCAA Tournament championship she has a career record of 550-139-9.
- Shelton has led the Tar Heels to 18 ACC Championships, more than any other program in the conference.
- She has coached UNC to six NCAA titles: 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2007 and 2009.
- The head coach at Carolina since 1981, she has led the Tar Heels to winning records in all but two seasons: 1981 (8-9-1) and 2002 (9-11).
- Shelton is a five-time National Coach of the Year (most recently in 2009) and a nine-time ACC Coach of the Year (most recently in 2012).
- Shelton is a member of the U.S. Field Hockey Association Hall of Fame, the NFCA Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
- As a player at West Chester, Shelton won three national championships in field hockey and one in lacrosse.
- Former Tar Heels coached by Shelton filled nine U.S. roster spots in the past two Olympic Games. Rachel Dawson, Katelyn Falgowski and Amy Tran Swensen were on the team in both 2008 and 2012. Kate Barber, Jesse Gey and Carrie Lingo also were on the team in 2008.