UNC field hockey’s Erin Matson breaks ACC record for career points in 6-1 win over Syracuse

Following No. 1 UNC field hockey’s 6-1 win towards No. 11 Syracuse on Friday, a number of teammates known as out to senior ahead Erin Matson all over their postgame stretch, urging the fifth-year to show round and “look at your poster!”

Crouched in a pigeon pose, Matson craned her neck in opposition to the Karen Shelton Stadium scoreboard. A graphic at the display positioned Matson between two goats and displayed her ancient fulfillment in all caps — “ACC CAREER POINTS LEADER”. 

Matson used to be fast to snigger it off, and her teammates were given a just right kick out of it too.

“I wasn’t expecting a poster,” Matson stated. “It’s really sweet. I wasn’t expecting flowers or anything… it was all just really surreal and memorable.”

On Friday, the four-time recipient of All-American and ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors — and arguably the game’s maximum dominant collegiate participant in the previous decade — cemented her spot because the convention’s most sensible offensive participant of all time. Matson’s lend a hand and function towards the Orange introduced her to a complete of 309 career points, surpassing Maryland’s Katie O’Donnell, who scored 306 from 2007-10.

“She (Matson) was definitely a world-class player when we recruited her,” UNC head trainer Karen Shelton stated. “I identified that special talent from a very young age, so we expected her to be great, and she has not disappointed.”

In the second one quarter, Matson managed the ball at the left aspect of the capturing circle. With a defender on her again, she grew to become and delivered a searing shot that used to be deflected by way of first-year Ryleigh Heck into the function.

There used to be possibly no higher approach for Matson to ship the purpose that propelled her to the highest of ACC historical past. Aside from her signature opposite shot, Matson’s 307th career level got here off of an lend a hand.

Heck known as it “symbolic”. When her oldsters have been requested concerning the play, Erin’s father, Brian Matson, started to rip up and needed to divert the query momentarily to Erin’s mom Jill.

“You hear about the scoring, and you kind of hear about the assists,” Brian stated. “But the fact that that happened, she got the point and assist, especially to one of our incredible first-years, that makes it a little more special to me.”

However, Matson wasn’t happy with only one level. The veteran’s tenacity greater as Friday’s sport went on, including two extra points to her stats sheet with a breakaway function in the 3rd quarter. Even after this, the ahead persisted to compete in site visitors to earn penalty corners and observe power to the Orange.

In the shadows of Matson’s ancient sport used to be Heck’s first career hat trick, a testomony to the younger skill surrounding Matson in this 12 months’s squad.

Before Matson’s lend a hand to Heck to earn her 307th level, Heck deflected a ball introduced from kind of 25 meters out by way of fellow first-year Sietske Brüning in a heads-up play that Shelton stated “bodes well for the future”.

Later, in the fourth quarter, Heck used to be ready to frivolously turn a ball into the again of the function following an Orange defensive breakdown — securing her 3rd function of the day. 

When requested about incomes her hat trick, Heck diverted the eye to her crew. Reflecting on Matson’s lend a hand in the second one quarter, Heck pointed to practices in the last few weeks in which the Tar Heels were operating on concord. Heck stated she is worked up it “finally started clicking” for the crew this night.

“I am extremely happy for Erin… just to be a part of it is phenomenal and a great feeling,” Heck stated. 

While Matson stated that “it’s great” that she broke the record, it isn’t one thing she’s been eyeing. She most effective discovered she tied the ACC record in the former sport — a 3-0 defeat of No. 12 UConn on Sunday — when it used to be discussed to her by way of a pal after the matchup.

“We’re just focused on winning…it’s obviously very rewarding and special but I wouldn’t say I was paying any close attention to it,” Matson stated.

However, when she backtracked around the midfield line on Friday following her record-breaking play, Matson took a second to acknowledge the cheers from the group. She shaped a center along with her arms and held it as much as the greater than 40 former avid gamers that had returned to Chapel Hill for Alumni Weekend.

To Matson, changing into the ACC all-time main scorer is a testomony to the North Carolina field hockey program.

“My goal coming in as a freshman was, let’s maybe win one national championship, and if it happens and (if) I work hard enough I can earn a player of the year,” Matson stated. “(UNC) is a place where you reach that and it’s like, ‘Ok, what’s next? What’s more?’ It invited that hunger and it allows you to thrive in this environment.”

And thankfully for the UNC field hockey crew — a program having a look to climb to the mountaintop as soon as once more following an uncharacteristic first-round loss in ultimate 12 months’s NCAA Tournament — Matson’s now not completed simply but.

@shelbymswanson 

@dthsports | sports activities@dailytarheel.com

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