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North Carolina field hockey wins unprecedented 10th national title

(Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

North Carolina are once again national champions.

The Tar Heels, playing for their 10th national championship in school history, beat Northwestern 2-1 during Sunday’s championship final.

Dueling storylines of elite competition surrounded the game.

Northwestern entered the day as the defending champions. North Carolina were winners of the three national championships before that. They lost last season to the Wildcats in the tournament’s first round.

On Sunday, the Tar Heels struck first before halftime. They went into the locker room up 1-0 and held a 10-0 edge in shots.

That score would hold until roughly two minutes to go in the game, when Bente Baekers scored on the penalty corner.

UNC recovered quickly, taking it back down the field to go up 2-1 with 1:18 remaining. Eventually, the clock ran out on Northwestern’s season, bringing UNC their 10th national championship.

That number is the most all time, and caps off an undefeated season for the Tar Heels.

“It doesn’t ever get old,” head coach Karen Shelton told ESPN postgame. “I’m just so proud of this team.

“It was a great team effort. Defense wins championships and we defended them pretty well. Northwestern is so good, we had to be good defensively.”