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Hadley Kuzmicky
Hadley Kuzmicky scored the lone goal for the Mountaineers.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Field Hockey Falls to Second Ranked North Carolina

Fifth-year goalkeeper Addie Clark notched a season-high 10 saves on the day as the App State Mountaineers (5-4, 1-1 MAC) fell to the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels (7-1, 2-0 ACC) 6-1 on Sunday.

A strong second half by the Mountaineers was the story of today as head coach Emily Dinsmore’s squad beat the second-ranked team 1-0 in the final 30 minutes thanks to Hadley Kuzmicky’s last-minute goal and Addie Clark’s terrific defense in the cage.

Hadley Kuzmicky broke the Mountaineers through on the scoreboard, redirecting the ball into the back of the cage off a Lise Boekaar pass. Kuzmicky’s goal was her second of the season and came off a pass from Lise Boekaar, her first assist of the year.

Clark and the Mountaineers played well defensively in the second half of the contest, shutting out the Tar Heels and applying good pressure on the UNC attack. Grace Ball, Florine Koopman and Sarah Perkins stepped big in the second half and provided great help for Addie in the contest.

“I’m super proud of Addie and her resilience,” head coach Emily Dinsmore said. “It’s difficult to turn the page once a high number of goals are scored on you, but Addie stepped up big and turned the page to shut them out in the second half.”

Today’s game got off to a quick start for Addie Clark and the defense as the Tar Heels fired three quick shots in the first seven minutes. Clark would record her first three saves of the day and sent each shot rolling out of the circle.

UNC struck first in today’s contest after drawing a stoke in the seventh minute from a penalty corner. Sanne Hak took the stroke for the Tar Heels and netted the game’s first goal. UNC would strike for two more in the quarter and would take a 3-0 lead after the first 15 minutes.

App State bounced back from the deficit to begin the second quarter and got the ball into the circle for their first scoring chance. Charlotte Bosma laid a beautiful pass into Hadley Kuzmicky but she was unable to score the chance.

Clark would tally her fourth save of the day early in the period, saving a Ryleigh Heck shot attempt. Clark would tally two saves in the period to give her five first-half saves.

UNC would score three more times in the second to give them a 6-0 lead at the half. Clark’s five first-half saves tied her season-high for saves in a game and gave her 30 for the season.

The Mountaineers began to impose their will on the Tar Heels to begin the third quarter, playing solid defense and generating offense from their defense.

Addie Clark continued her fantastic day in the goal for the Mountaineers, saving five Tar Heel shots in the third quarter to give her an even 10 for the day. Clark’s 10 saves are the most she has recorded since Sep. 9, 2022, when she recorded 13 saves against Duke.

The defense was stellar in the third quarter and stopped four UNC corner chances and helped send back 11 Tar Heel shots. Grace Ball and Florine Koopman each made sliding stops to prevent the ball from crossing the line and were excellent all day for the Black & Gold, leading to another scoreless quarter for the Mountaineers.

App State came out ready to go in the fourth quarter, controlling the ball for most of the period and once again keeping the Tar Heels off the scoreboard.

The defense would once again prove to be a vital piece of today’s strong second half, as they blocked a Jasmina Smolenaars shot attempt off a penalty corner and prevented another scoring chance by UNC on a second corner late in the period. It was App State’s first shutout half since the first half of the James Madison game earlier this season.

With less than a minute remaining, the Mountaineers got their best chance of the day to score a goal on the second-ranked team in the nation, drawing a penalty corner with 44 seconds remaining. Hadley Kuzmicky would insert the ball and find Charlotte Bosma who attempted App State’s first shot of the contest. Off the deflection, Lise Boekaar would find Hadley Kuzmicky to the left of the frame who slapped it past the UNC keeper to give App State its first goal of the day.

When the final whistle blew, App State had outscored UNC 1-0 in the second half and their performance gave them plenty of things to build off as the team returns to conference play on Friday.

“We did the little things well in the second half to not allow them easy opportunities as they were attacking in the final 30 minutes,” Dinsmore said. “One of our goals for the second half was to not allow uncontested shots and we did that. I’m proud of the defense for standing strong and fighting in the second half.”

App State will set their sights on more MAC Conference play as they travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to take on the Central Michigan Chippewas on Friday. First touch is slated for noon.