Conference USA Champions
North Texas Beats Charlotte 3-1 In Penalty Kicks
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The North Texas soccer team defeated Charlotte 3-1 in penalty kicks Sunday afternoon to win its 13th conference championship in program history.
After 110 minutes of scoreless soccer, the Mean Green's Taylor Torres scored the game-winning shootout goal.
It is the Mean Green's fifth conference tournament championship in the program's 23-year history.
With the win, North Texas, who was the second-seed in the C-USA tournament, has earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in program history. The Mean Green will find out where and who they are playing in the tournament on Monday during the NCAA Selection Show.
"From our coaches to our bench, everyone did what they were supposed to do today," said senior captain Tori Phillips. "I couldn't be more proud of the hard work this team has put in. Having won a fourth conference championship in four years means everything to Cat and I."
In what was their second meeting with the 49ers this season, the two teams had again another tightly contested match.
The match swung momentum throughout with Charlotte earning opportunities in the beginning of the first half and North Texas late in the half.
Neither team managed to break through. Even when Charlotte's two-time conference player of the year forward Martha Thomas left the match with a knee injury right before halftime momentum never shifted permanently to one side.
"Charlotte was a great team and we both had chances," said senior captain Cat Sebazco. "But we were not going home without a title."
Late in regulation, Charlotte had a lose ball nearly cross the Mean Green's goal line that would have surly done North Texas in. But a quick scoop by goalie Brooke Bradley kept the match tied.
Then late in the second overtime, another Charlotte shot almost went in as it hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced right in front of the goal line and spit out on the field.
In penalty kicks the Mean Green's freshman Brooke Lampe was inserted in at goalie from her field position. After a miss from the 49ers on their first attempt, Phillips put North Texas in the driver's seat with a goal.
Two shooters later, freshman Elle Marie DeFrain gave North Texas a 2-1 lead in the shootout.
After another miss by Charlotte, Torres stepped up and won the championship for North Texas.
"The pressure was on and we came out on top," Sebazco said. "Pressure makes diamonds and now we get some diamonds to show for it."
The game-winning goal in the championship match by Torres comes two rounds after she scored a hat trick in the quarterfinals to beat Middle Tennessee 4-1 on Wednesday.
2017 C-USA Women's Soccer Championship All-Tournament Team
Taylor Torres, North Texas - Offensive MVP
Dominique James, North Texas - Defensive MVP
Natalie Newell, North Texas
Natalie McDonough, North Texas
Martha Thomas, Charlotte
Meredith Hamby, Charlotte
Megan Greene, Charlotte
Nomvula Kgoale, Louisiana Tech
Courtney Tompkins, Louisiana Tech
Asta Arnadottir, Florida Atlantic
Marli Batiste, Florida Atlantic