DENTON, Texas - Following its trip to the C-USA Tournament Finals in Nov., the North Texas soccer team graduated four key defensive players that combined for 298 career appearances - including the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year in Kelsey Hodges. Figuring out how to replace them was expected to be a tall task, and the major focus of the spring.
However, if Saturday's spring opener against Oklahoma was any indication, the Mean Green might have already figured things out.
NT rode the solid back line play of veteran defenders Tess Graham and Molly Grisham up the middle, and defensive converts Leah Cox and Brooke Oxentine on the wings, to a 2-1 win over the Sooners on a cold and drizzly afternoon at the Mean Green Soccer Complex.
"Considering the weather I thought it was a solid match between two good teams and was very pleased with our intensity level and work rate on both sides of the ball,” said North Texas head coach John Hedlund.
After downing OU, 5-0, in the fall, North Texas was able to control the flow of play for the opening 30 thanks to a fluid transition from defense to offense. NT struck first in the 15th minute when a Karla Pineda corner kick was redirected to the back post by Jackie Moreau, where Rachel Holden sent it past the OU keeper.
The Sooners evened things just before half, but another set piece from Pineda gave NT the game in the 76th
minute. The sophomore swung a free kick from the left wing into the back post, and the Mean Green was able to hang on from there.
2014 North Texas Soccer Spring Schedule
||March 8, 2 p.m.
||March 23, Noon
||April 5, 3 p.m.
||April 11, 7 p.m.
||April 18, 7 p.m.