Mean Green soccer falls to Texas on road, ready for C-USA play

Mean Green soccer falls to Texas on road, ready for C-USA play

September 17
02:36 2016

North Texas soccer wrapped up its non-conference schedule Friday night with a 1-0 loss to the University of Texas at Austin.

With Conference USA play beginning Sunday at Rice University, head coach John Hedlund emphasized rest and conserving energy in this tight game, even though the Mean Green (5-3-1) had a chance to get a positive result.

“Tonight was a crazy game for us,” Hedlund said. “I wish I could’ve gone with my starters a little longer. I think we could have pulled out a tie or a win here, but it was just the situation that we were in. When conference hits, I want us to be at our best so I had to be very creative.”

Neither team established control over the match, which led to both sides having ample opportunities. Texas edged out North Texas in shots 11-9, and the lone goal came off of a quirky defensive error by the Mean Green.

After a failed clearance, the Longhorns sent in a cross and North Texas keeper Brooke Bradley ran out to clear it with her fists. Instead, freshman defender Brittnye Loewen attempted to clear it from an impossible angle, and finished off the shot into the back of the Mean Green’s net.

The lone goal was bizarre and also the only hiccup in an otherwise solid performance.

“We had opportunities, and so did they,” Hedlund said. “We kind of gave up a bad goal, but we had some chances that I thought we were going to put in.“

Senior forward Hailey Sutton had perhaps the best opportunity of the night for North Texas, as she navigated her way in the box and fired a shot that went just wide of the post.

The Mean Green offense has not done well away from Denton this year and have managed only one goal in five road contests.

In the last 395 minutes on the road, North Texas has been shut out.

“This game we [had] a better attack,” senior Forward Rachel Holden said. “We were connecting better with our forwards. We got more shots. But, we put defense first and see what we can do on offense, and it was working for us, but we didn’t get a goal.”

A large part of their offensive struggles have been a result of playing high quality opponents in the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, the University of Arkansas, and Texas. Three of those games, besides Oregon, have been either 1-0 or 0-0.

Even though the offense can be sporadic at times, the defense has been the team’s calling card. And this match was no different.

“Defensively I think we did well,” senior midfielder Marchelle Davis said. “We let an easy goal in, but I feel that our defense is fine. Our communication is on key with our midfielders and I think we’re ready for Rice.”

Now North Texas is entering conference play as the preliminary favorites to win C-USA — and Hedlund knows they are more than prepared.

“I think the non conference schedule I put together got us ready for conference,” Hedlund said. “I’m hoping [those quality games] got us ready for a good conference run.”

Next up: North Texas takes on Rice at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

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Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

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