Reflecting Back On The 2004 Regular-Season Title
The Mean Green Won Two Conference Championships in 2004
With the majority of its team coming back after a record-breaking season in 2014, the North Texas soccer program is poised to make a run for its 10th conference championship in school history.
Every Thursday during the summer, MeanGreenSports.com is going look back at all nine conference championships. This week, we look at the first of two conference championships both won in 2004.
The 2004 season was a year in which the Mean Green soccer program jumped to a higher level. North Texas clinched its second regular-season title in program history, won its first conference tournament and then advanced to its first NCAA Tournament.
North Texas combined a good blend of senior leadership along with a dose of talented newcomers and ended up with one of the best teams in school history.
The Mean Green started the 2004 season on a roll, tying its best start in school history with four opening victories. After dropping a game to Missouri, North Texas rebounded with a big win against Baylor.
Senior Richelle Magalhaes was named the Sun Belt Conference Soccer Player of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal against Baylor. Magalhaes scored with just four minutes remaining as she lofted a shot from 30 yards away that found the back of the net. The goal also gave North Texas its first-ever win over Baylor in soccer.
The roller-coaster ride continued with a loss to No. 17 SMU, snapping a 16-game home winning streak, and another defeat to Rice on the road.
The Mean Green turned its sights towards conference play and winning its second regular-season title. For the second straight season, North Texas recorded a 6-1-1 mark in Sun Belt play. The only loss came at the hands of Denver, a 3-0 defeat in Colorado. North Texas also tied Middle Tennessee, 0-0, a home game that came back to haunt them.
The regular-season conference title went down to the wire. North Texas had to win its final home game of the season against FIU in order to secure a share of the conference championship. The game ended up being a physical one with 39 fouls called. The winning goal was an own goal by FIU after a cross by Heather Hutyra was deflected into the Panther's net by an FIU defender.
Because of the tie to Middle Tennessee, the Mean Green ended up sharing the regular-season title with the Blue Raiders and earned a No. 2 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The regular-season title was the second conference championship in the Mean Green program and the first since 2001.
Melinda Pina capped a North Texas career with a sensational senior season. She led the Mean Green in scoring and points with 10 goals and 21 points. The forward scored a hat trick against Valparaiso and recorded game-winning goals against Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette.
It was the beginning of the careers for Heather Hutyra and Dani Slavonic, two freshmen who would go on to lead North Texas to four conference titles.
Nine Conference Championships
2001 Regular-Season Title