DENTON, Texas- North Texas got three second-half goals to earn a 3-0 victory over 2010 Sun Belt Tournament Champs Middle Tennessee at the Mean Green Soccer Complex on Sunday. Nikki Crocco returned from injury to score a goal and assist on another for the Mean Green.
The win extends North Texas' (7-3-1, 2-0-0 Sun Belt) home unbeaten streak to 11 games, and its home Sun Belt winning streak to 11 games. Middle Tennessee (3-7-0, 0-2-0 Sun Belt) has only beaten the Mean Green once in its last five tries. This is the ninth time in 11 years that North Texas has started out Sun Belt play 2-0-0.
Nikki Crocco put the Mean Green ahead in the 63rd minute when she stole the ball from Middle Tennessee keeper Rebecca Cushing and put the ball into the empty net for her second game-winner of the season. Crocco, who missed the previous two games and was a game-time decision with a knee injury, has six goals and four assists on the season after today's game.
North Texas got an insurance goal just two minutes later, when Crocco weaved a through ball past the Middle Tennessee defense to set Michelle Young free, as she scored her eighth of the season and third of the weekend. Young has 25 goals for her career, and is one away from tying Brittany Cleveland and Michelle Pratz for ninth all-time at North Texas.
Middle Tennessee had a chance to get back in the game in the 79th minute, but Whitney Jorgenson's penalty kick was saved by Jackie Kerestine, who earned her second career shutout today. Kerestine's save came on the first penalty kick she has faced in her career.
Ellen Scarfone sealed the game for the Mean Green in the 89th minute, as scored her second goal of the season and 12th of her career. Shelly Holt provided the assist on the play, tallying her second helper of the year.
The Mean Green outshot the Blue Raiders 11-7. North Texas earned five corners to Middle Tennessee's two.
The Mean Green play at ULM on Friday, September 30 at 4 p.m. in Monroe, La. The Mean Green return to the Mean Green Soccer Complex on Friday, October 7 as it hosts Troy at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Kelsey Petty earned her first career start for the Mean Green … North Texas is 6-1-0 after not conceding a goal in the first half, and 3-1-0 after both teams are scoreless after one half … North Texas has stopped three of the last four penalty kicks it has faced, dating back to last season