Did you know there was an ACC/Big Ten Challenge in field hockey? I didn't, despite it's being around for eleven years at this point. In my defense, it isn't really the three-day spectacle that its basketball counterpart is. This ACC/Big Ten Challenge is a four team affair, involving UNC, Wake Forest, Michigan and Iowa; the four schools rotate hosting the challenge each season. The Tar Heels have only lost twice in the twenty challenge games coming into this season, but with Michigan and Iowa ranked 10th and 12th, respectively, continuing that level of success was going to be a bit difficult.
Or not. UNC is ranked 2nd in the country, behind only Maryland, the team that's beaten the Heels in the last two national championship games. Carolina loses five starters from that team, but has a deep bench and should vie for UNC's seventh national championship. They sure tore their way through the Big Ten this weekend. Playing Michigan first, the Heels steamrolled their way to a 5-1 win, outshooting their opponents by a 21-2 margin. They followed that performance with an even stronger one. Facing Iowa, a team that had beaten the hosting Demon Deacons in OT the previous afternoon, Carolina came out firing. They scored the first goal two and half minutes into play, and added three more before the break. UNC would go one to win 5-0 while leading 23-5 in shots on goal.
Of particular note was Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany's performance — the forward had four goals and one assist over two games. Similarly impressive was midfielder Kelsey Kolojejchick's four assists; both Gaudioso Radvany and Kolojejchick are seniors looking for their second national championship. The next stop on that road is at 7th-ranked Syracuse next Saturday.