Mean Green Soccer Starts Conference Slate With Road Win Against Rice
Rachel Holden Scores Two Goals, Including Gamewinner
HOUSTON -- The North Texas soccer team began defending its regular-season Conference USA title on the road Sunday night, and the Mean Green had to overcome a rough start. The Mean Green gave up an early goal to Rice in their conference opener, but Rachel Holden scored the next two goals to give North Texas a 2-1 victory against the Owls.
"We have so much respect for Rice, usually these two programs collide at the end of the year with a title on the line so it was a little strange to open up conference with them," said North Texas head coach John Hedlund. "I'm really proud of my team, not just tonight, but the entire weekend. They played like warriors, and Rachel came up big tonight for us with two great goals."
North Texas was down early after Jenny Fichera converted a penalty kick for Rice in the eighth minute.
North Texas took the lead in the 46th minute off a cross by Taylor Torres. Holden knocked in her second goal with another close-range shot after a quick cross by Torres just one minute into the second period.
Despite the early deficit, the Mean Green dominated Rice in most offensive categories. North Texas outshot the Owls, 14-9, and limited the home team to just three shots on goal. Samantha Colley was forced to make seven saves in goal for Rice.
Rice had a chance to tie the game in the 77th minute, but a Gabby Martinez header went wide. Brooke Bradley had to make just two saves in goal for the Mean Green.
Next up for North Texas
North Texas returns home for two conference games against Marshall and Louisiana Tech. The Mean Green hosts Marshall on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
North Texas is now 2-2 in conference openers since joining Conference USA in 2013.
North Texas has won the last two meetings with Rice and now leads the series, 4-3-1.
With her two goals tonight, Rachel Holden increased her season total to seven, which leads the team. She moved into sole possession of seventh place in the North Texas records book with 35 career goals. She also moved into sole possession of 10th place in career points with 78, and into sole possession of fifth place with 14 career game-winning goals.