Soccer team drops home opener to Kansas 2-1

Soccer team drops home opener to Kansas 2-1

Soccer team drops home opener to Kansas 2-1
August 30
22:18 2015

Alex Lessard | Staff Writer

@alexlikechexmix
In its first home game of the season, the Mean Green soccer team looked to start with a 4-0 record for the third time in four years against Kansas University.

North Texas (3-1) also wanted to prove its recent No. 3 NCAA regional ranking, but fell to Kansas by a score of 2-1. Kansas (2-1-1) was one of six teams the Mean Green leapfrogged in the rankings last week.

Kansas came out of the gate in attack mode, getting off six shots and four corner kicks before allowing any attempts from North Texas until the 14th minute. Senior goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine attributed the slow start to home-field nervousness.

“It’s always such a thrill to play for your friends and family and all these people out here, whether you know them or not,” Kerestine said. “It’s always those first game jitters, but we got over it in the second half.”

The Mean Green defense held strong until the 35th minute when senior Jayhawk midfielder Liana Salazar cut inside the six and put the ball in the left corner of the net off a teammate’s pass from the left side.

North Texas finished the first half down 13-3 in shots and 5-1 in corners.

“They dominated the possession,” head coach John Hedlund said. “We were chasing the whole first half.”

“In the second half, we settled down. We started attacking in numbers, we got the goal and had some really nice other opportunities, but we just couldn’t put it in.”

Despite allowing two shots and a corner in the first two minutes of the second half, junior forward Rachel Holden sprinted straight down the middle of the field, beat a defender one-on-one and scored to knot the match at 1-1. The goal was unassisted and Holden’s first of the season.

Senior midfielder Karla Pineda barely missed on two separate chances to take the lead on free kicks, one from the left side and one from midfield. However, Kansas seized back the lead on a goal in minute 76, Kerestine’s third allowed this season.

Even with the Jayhawks controlling the pace and getting 22 shots off, Holden said the team remained confident the entire match.

“Our defense played a really good game,” Holden said. “Unfortunately we let in two goals, but I think finishing is one thing we need to do better.”

Hedlund said it was tough to let such a close match slip away, especially at home against a Big 12 opponent.

“We’ve got to play like we did in the second half,” Hedlund said. “If we would have done that the whole game, we would probably be 4-0 at this point.”

The Mean Green will look to bounce back in its next match, a road matchup Friday against Abilene Christian University. The match is set for 7 p.m.

Featured Image: North Texas’ Chelsei Soto (18) passes the ball during a game against Kansas on Sunday, August 30, 2015. Dylan Nadwodny | Intern Photographer

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