By R.L. Bynum
While the unstoppable Carolina field hockey team held on to its No. 2 ranking, the UNC women’s soccer team fell a spot, and both cross country teams moved up in their polls.
Coach Karen Shelton’s field hockey team is 7–0 after blanking No. 4 Louisville 3–0 Friday in its ACC opener. The Tar Heels, who have won their last four games by a combined score of 20–0, face No. 15 Wake Forest in their league home opener at 4 p.m. Friday (ACC Network Extra/ESPN3).
Preseason No. 1 Northwestern (8–0) has stayed atop the NFHCA coaches poll, topping UNC this week in first-place votes 37–12. UNC has wins over four Top 10 teams in Louisville, No. 5 Iowa, No. 7 Princeton and No. 8 Michigan.
Fifth-year, four-time All-America forward Erin Matson leads UNC with 28 points, and freshman midfielder Ashley Sessa has 25 points.
Coach Anson Dorrance’s women’s soccer team (7–2–0, 0–1–0 ACC) dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 after, for the first time in school history, giving up a two-goal lead in a regulation loss. Virginia, which moved from No. 7 to No. 2, rallied from a 2–0 halftime deficit Sunday to earn a 3–2 win despite being outshot by UNC 13–6.
Duke, which rebounded from a 3–0 Sept. 8 home loss to UNC with a 1–0 road win Friday at unranked Syracuse, jumped from No. 5 to No. 3.
Other ACC teams to move up were Florida State (No. 12 to No. 7 after beating unranked Boston College 6–0 on Friday), Clemson (No. 24 to No. 14 after a 2–0 home win Thursday over Notre Dame) and N.C. State (from unranked to No. 22 after a 2–1 home win Sunday over unranked Wake Forest.) The Irish plummeted from No. 6 to No. 18 after losing to the Tigers.
Cross country coach Chris Miltenberg’s women’s team is up two spots to No. 12, and his men’s team jumped four spots to No. 13 after both finished first at the Coaching Tree Invitational on Friday in Bloomington, Ind.
Brynn Brown, last season’s ACC Freshman of the Year, won the women’s 6K race in 20 minutes, 18.6 seconds, and four other Tar Heels finished in the top 13. Will Coogan was fifth in the 8K men’s race in 23:48, with John Tatter ninth (23:55) and UNC earning two other top-20 finishes.
The Tar Heels’ next competition is the Paul Short run in Bethlehem, Pa., on Sept. 30.
Coach Carlos Somoano’s men’s soccer team (3–2–2, 0–1–1 ACC) beat East Tennessee State 1–0 and tied Duke 1–1 but didn’t crack the poll, which came out Tuesday The Blue Devils fell from No. 5 to No. 7 with that tie.
Wake Forest moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the men’s poll after its 1–0 road win over Virginia Tech and Clemson’s 2–1 home loss to Syracuse. The Orange jumped from No. 16 to No. 3, and the Tigers fell from No. 1 to No. 10.
The Tar Heels played to a scoreless draw at home against UNCW on Tuesday night.
Coach Joe Segula’s volleyball team (8–3), which won three games in Richmond last weekend (3–1 Friday over Old Dominion, 3–0 Friday over VCU and 3–0 Saturday over UMBC), is on the road Friday for its ACC opener against No. 10 Pittsburgh.
Photo of Erin Matson courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications