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Penn State Field Hockey Defeated By North Carolina 3-0 In NCAA Tournament Semifinal Game

No. 6 Penn State field hockey was defeated by No. 1 North Carolina 3-0 Friday afternoon in the NCAA Tournament semifinal game. The Nittany Lions were attempting to play in their first NCAA Championship game since 2007.

It was all North Carolina today, as both the defense and offense were dominant for the entirety of the game. Five-time ACC player of the year Erin Matson had a great day scoring the first two goals of the game for the Tar Heels, and senior forward Paityn Wirth made it three with a nice goal early in the fourth quarter.

How It Happened

As the game began, you knew it would be a physical one. Both North Carolina and Penn State were playing very aggressive games, fighting for every ball and getting multiple turnovers.

Penn State had the first real opportunity to score on a penalty corner with five minutes to go in the first quarter. Mackenzie Allessie set up a beautiful shot for Sophia Gladieux but was just wide of the net. North Carolina then had three straight penalty corners of their own to end the first quarter. Brie Barraco and the Nittany Lions’ defense were able to fend off the attacks, keeping the game 0-0 after one.

The second quarter saw much of the same as both teams continued their aggressive game plans. Six minutes into the quarter, North Carolina struck first thanks to five-time ACC player of the year Erin Matson. Matson got the pass into the circle and made a nice move to shoot one right past Barraco for the first goal of the game.

Down a goal, Penn State needed to answer back, but they weren’t able to do that for the remainder of the first half. North Carolina played outstanding defense, keeping Penn State from even taking a shot for the entire second quarter. This kept the game at 1-0 after 30 minutes.

The third quarter began and it seemed like a lot of the same, as North Carolina was once again in control from the jump. The Tar Heels were continuing to keep the ball on offense and scored yet again 10 minutes into the quarter. Matson scored her second goal of the afternoon to extend the lead to two.

A minute after the goal, Penn State had its first shot in nearly 30 minutes of game time. It was a nice back-handed shot by Gladieux that went wide of the goal. The Nittany Lions tried but couldn’t score, keeping the game 2-0 after three quarters.

Now down 2-0, Penn State needed to mount a comeback, but the Tar Heels weren’t done yet. This time, it was Paityn Wirth scoring her fifth goal of the season, extending the lead to three. North Carolina played keep-away for the remainder of the game to win 3-0, eliminating the Nittany Lions.


  • The offense was non-existent for nearly the entire game. The Nittany Lions totaled only four shots with only one of them being a shot on the goal. North Carolina played outstanding defense all day and it showed during the game.
  • Brie Barraco had a rough day in the net, allowing three goals for the first time since September 30. It was an unfortunate end to her amazing season as she kept the Nittany Lions in many games this season.
  • Despite coming up short, it was an amazing season for Penn State which won a share of the regular season Big Ten title and finished 17-4 on the season.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, concluding their 2022 season.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a Junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in Sports Studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him watching reruns of "The Office" or "Friends." To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected]

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