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UNC fall sports check in

With football on a bye week, let’s check in on some of the other fall sports.

2020 NCAA Division I Women’s Field Hockey Championship Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

With North Carolina football in a bye week, let’s do some checking in on things. When football season starts, that tends to suck up a lot of oxygen, but there have been several others sports in seasons in recent weeks. With no football game to look forward to, let’s do a fall sports check in.

Field Hockey has been the probably the best program at the school in recent years, having won three-straight national titles from 2018-20. Last year, that streak ended when they lost of Northwestern in the Round of 16, but the loss was somewhat redeemed by the Wildcats going on and winning the title.

This year, field hockey appears to be back to it’s best, currently sitting at 12-0 ahead of a meeting with Virginia later today. They currently sit at #1 in the coaches’ poll, with wins over the current #5, #7, #8, #10, #11, #12, #13, #16, and #19. They’re averaging over four goals per game while allowing just one. They’ve been very impressive so far.

Erin Matson is likely to go down on the all-time UNC athlete pantheon, and this season has only added to that. So far this season, he has put up 17 goals and four assists in 12 games.

UNC are currently a clear #1 atop the top 25 poll, but Maryland and the defending champions Northwestern are among teams likely to challenge the Heels.

Women’s soccer is in the midst of a good season, as they look to add to the program’s historic national title tally. After a (insert result) last night against #4 Florida State, the Tar Heels currently sit at 12-3-0. Two of the losses came to ranked teams in #1 UCLA and #13 Virginia. UNC themselves currently sit at #2 in the most recent United Soccer Coaches top 25 poll.

They’ve been led by an especially miserly defense, that’s allowed just nine goals in 15 games. The attack haven’t been slouches either, putting up 36 goals for an average of well over two a game. At least 14 different Tar Heels have scored a goal, led Avery Patterson, who has eight and three assists. They’ve managed to do all that despite some injury issues, with stars Julia Dorsey and Sam Meza both missing time recently.

The gap since women’s soccer’s last national title is already by far the longest since the advent of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament. The last once came exactly 10 years ago in 2012. They’ve been in the mix every year in that stretch though, and they likely will again be this year.

As far as men’s soccer goes, this year’s team is looking to bounce back after missing the 2021 NCAA Tournament. So far, they’ve gotten off to a bit of a slow start, going 6-3-3 after a (X) against Elon on Tuesday night. Their best result so far this season is probably playing current #3 Duke to a tie in Durham.

They’ve done well at stopping teams from scoring, having allowed just eight goals in their 12 games. The issue has been that they’ve also only scored 12 themselves. Only one of those goals has been in a game against a ranked team.

At this point, it seems like their best hope at guaranteeing a spot in the NCAA Tournament would be an ACC Championship. The top eight teams make the ACC Tournament, and UNC are seemingly right on the border of making that.

Volleyball looks to be up against it in any NCAA Tournament hopes, currently sitting at 11-8.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are in contention to potentially make at least the NCAA regional championship meets.

Even beyond football’s success so far, this could be a productive fall season for UNC sports.