Mean Green Soccer Repeats As C-USA Regular-Season Champions
North Texas Defeats Rice, 2-1
DENTON -- The North Texas soccer team captured the program's 10th conference championship with a 2-1 victory against Rice on Sunday night at the Mean Green Soccer Complex.
The Mean Green went undefeated in conference play to secure its second straight regular-season Conference USA championship. The game was a rematch of last year's conference tournament championship game, but this time the Mean Green came out on top.
"I thought all along these were the top two teams in the conference and from a fans perspective you couldn't of ask for a more exciting game between two stellar programs," said North Texas head coach John Hedlund. "Right now I'm so proud of these seniors. C-USA is a tough conference from top to bottom with so many solid teams so for us to win back-to-back titles is very rewarding."
North Texas scored twice in the opening 20 minutes, but then had to hold off a vigorous Rice attack after the Owls scored in the 72nd minute.
For the second straight game, the Mean Green scored in the opening minutes off its very first shot. Rachel Holden took possession of the ball after Jackie Moreau posted a long throw-in into the box. The junior forward shielded the ball from her defender, turned and had an open look at the goal. Her shot went into the upper right-hand corner of the goal in just the third minute of the game.
Karla Pineda caught the Rice goalkeeper by surprise in the 19th minute. The senior midfielder took a pass from Moreau just past the midfield circle and lofted a hard shot that went over the goalie's head.
Nia Stallings put Rice back into the game in the 72nd minute after getting a chipped ball into the box and then slotting it past a diving Jackie Kerestine. Right before the goal, Kerestine had made a low diving save that prevented a Holly Hargreaves shot from going in.
Next up for North Texas
North Texas finishes up its regular season on Friday, Oct. 30 when it plays Louisiana Tech.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
North Texas remains undefeated in conference play with an 8-0-1 record. The Mean Green secured a No. 1 seed for the conference tournament.
The Mean Green ties a single-season win record with 16 victories. This is the second straight year that North Texas has won 16 games.
The Mean Green defeated Rice for the first time since 2005
The Mean Green remained undefeated at home against conference opponents. North Texas extends its home winning streak against conference opponents to 32-0-2.
The Mean Green won its eighth straight game, a season high. The last Mean Green team to win eight straight was the 2005 team.
Rachel Holden has scored a goal in each of the last four games. She has also scored six goals in the last seven games. Four of those six goals have been gamewinners.
Karla Pineda ended up with the gamewinner; a 35-yard shot that caught the goalkeeper off guard. She has posted four points in the last two games.
Rachel Holden scored her team-leading 11th goal of the season.
Jackie Moreau doubled her assist total with two assists today.
John Hedlund won his 296th career game.