The No. 12 University of Louisville field hockey team fell 3-2 to No. 20 Wake Forest in the quarterfinals of the ACC Field Hockey Championship Thursday at North Carolina’s Shelton Stadium.
Sophomore Mercedes Pastor delivered a goal and an assist and senior Taylor Stone contributed a goal while fellow all-ACC selection Ayeisha McFerran tallied six saves in a highly-competitive game that featured three lead changes and two ties.
“Obviously a disappointing result at the end of the day when you get knocked out of a tournament and you don’t know if it’s going to be your last game or not,” said UofL head coach Justine Sowry. “But to be honest, I think that we put together a great game plan and we really worked hard in our preparation over the last couple of weeks, knowing we were going to have a different lineup. It ebbed and flowed, momentum shifted. I think we left it all out on the pitch – that’s the bottom line. At the end of the day, they capitalized and we did not.”
The third-seeded Cardinals (13-6) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, breaking through with a goal in the fourth minute of the contest after earning a corner. Sophomore Alli Bitting got the corner started and Pastor sent a pass to Stone who rifled a shot into the cage for her fifth goal of the season.
The sixth-seeded Demon Deacons (10-8) countered midway through the half. After a shot by Jule Grashoff was turned back by Louisville goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran, a scramble in front of the cage ensued and Grace Sambrook collected a rebound and sent it into the cage to even the score.
The Cards regained the lead with just over five minutes remaining in the period when Pastor dribbled the ball on the end line and sent a reverse-stick shot into the opposite corner of the cage to make the score 2-1 with her fifth goal of the season.
Once again, Wake answered, this time after drawing its fifth corner of the half with 39 seconds left on the clock. Grashoff made good on the corner attempt by sending a shot into the top right corner of the cage to knot the score a 2-2 after time expired in the half.
In the first half of play, Wake held a 10-4 advantage in shots and a 5-2 edge in corners. McFerran collected four first half saves while Wake’s Isla Bint had one stop.
The second half was more evenly-played with each team firing off four shots and Wake holding a 2-1 edge in corners. The teams traded possessions through the first 23 minutes of the second half before the Demon Deacons gained the lead for the first time in the contest when Emily Anderson powered a pass from Kelsey Gill into the cage with under 12 minutes remaining in the game.
Trailing 3-2 with 4:33 left to play, the Cards lifted McFerran in favor of an extra field player. Shortly thereafter, Louisville gains possession and Pastor earned a corner, but Russ’s initial shot was stopped by Bint. Louisville could not put together another scoring opportunity in the final two minutes of the contest.
In the game, Wake Forest held a 14-8 advantage in shots and a 7-3 edge in corners. McFerran had six stops for the Cards while Bint collected three.
“I’m really proud of the effort that we put in and really proud of that after the timeout and changing our system, taking our goalkeeper out and even then we still had opportunities,” said Sowry. “Unfortunately we did not capitalize. Now we wait. We had a great year, I think we have a great resume, but we don’t have control of our destiny, so we will wait and see.”
The Cardinals will learn their NCAA fate selection show airs Sunday at 10 p.m. (ET) on NCAA.com.
Assistant Sports Information Director
University of Louisville Athletics