Posted On: August 26, 2016
The UNC field hockey team opens its season this weekend in a manner that has become program tradition: by playing a pair of ACC-Big Ten Challenge games. The Tar Heels meet Michigan on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Iowa on Sunday at 2. The annual event rotates between the four participating schools and this year is hosted by Carolina's Atlantic Coast Conference counterpart, Wake Forest, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Action takes place at Kentner Stadium and there is no charge for admission. The host Demon Deacons play in the first game of the doubleheader both days, facing Iowa Saturday and Michigan Sunday, both at 11:30 a.m.
“It's always fun going into the first game,” UNC coach Karen Shelton said Friday as her team prepared for the bus ride to Winston-Salem. “Everyone goes in under the same conditions, basically blind. We're trying some new things, new people in new places. Our kids have been working hard and we're excited about the test we'll get this weekend.”
The Tar Heels held two intra-squad Blue-White scrimmages during the preseason and also played an exhibition game against conference-rival Duke. Nine starters return to this year's Carolina squad, including seniors Kristy Bernatchez, Emma Bozek, Shannon Johnson, Lauren Moyer and Julia Young.
Young, a defender, has been named captain for this season, with Bozek and Moyer as co-captains.
UNC, the ACC Champion and NCAA runner-up in 2015, is ranked atop the preseason national poll. Wake Forest is No. 7, Michigan is No. 10 and Iowa is just outside the top 20, among other teams receiving votes.
The Tar Heels travel the first two weekends of the season and will open their home schedule on Sept. 10 when Wake Forest visits Chapel Hill. The matchup, set for 1 p.m., is the conference opener for both teams. For the full 2016 schedule, click here.