The 2012 Team Wins The Conference Tournament Championship
The Mean Green Captures Two Titles in 2012
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 2012 conference tournament championship team.
The 2012 team is one of three teams in the history of the Mean Green soccer program to win the regular-season conference title and then go on to capture in the conference tournament title in the same year.
Behind a stellar defense, the Mean Green needed just three goals in three games to capture the 2012 tournament title. The top-seeded North Texas team used a Carly McDowell header to get past FAU, 1-0 in the opening round.
The win set up a showdown with Western Kentucky. North Texas had just lost to the Hilltoppers two weeks earlier in the final game of the regular season. WKU had also eliminated the Mean Green from the 2011 conference tournament in penalty kicks.
North Texas applied pressure early and had the better of the play in the first half, out-shooting WKU) 11-4 and enjoying a 5-1 advantage in corners kicks.
It was a mistake, however, that opened the door for the Mean Green. Amber Haggerty intercepted a WKU pass back to the keeper and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper. It was Haggerty's seventh goal of the season.
The Mean Green defense shut down the Hilltoppers in the second half, allowing just three shots. The win sent North Texas to its ninth Sun Belt Tournament championship game and first since 2007.
"It's always a battle between these two programs, WKU is one of the better defensive teams we have played all year," head coach John Hedlund said about the game at the time. "They're very well coached. I think everyone knew it would be a one-goal game either way. We are happy to move on to the finals."
North Texas played FIU in the championship game, another team that the Mean Green had butted heads with in the past. The Mean Green and the Golden Panthers have played to a tie during the regular season in Denton.
After the game was delayed due to uniform issues, Amber Haggerty came up with the lone goal again in another defensive battle to help the Mean Green win its third SBC tournament championship and earn an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament field. The game was the last one to be played by North Texas in the Sun Belt Conference, a league it has been a member of for 13 years.
For the third time in school history, North Texas was a participant in the NCAA Tournament. Despite going into half tied at 0-0, North Texas was unable to hold off Texas Tech in the second half in Lubbock. The Red Raiders scored two goals to push past the Mean Green.
Despite the loss, the Mean Green had a historic season for the program.
"I couldn't be prouder of my team right now, we simply had an amazing run," said John Hedlund after the game. "Starting with 16 wins and being ranked in the top 10 of the region all year, especially over several SEC schools. We claimed the regular season championship along with the conference tournament championship and of course, being apart of the NCAA tournament. When the girls receive their rings, I think it will finally kick in on what a magical year we all had and the great memories we shared throughout the season."
For the first time in school history, North Texas had two players named to the National Soccer Coach's Association of America All-South Region second team.
Michelle Young ended her Mean Green career as an all-time great for the program. She scored 10 goals on the year putting her at 40 for her career, good for fifth all-time. She also knocked in 15 game-winners throughout her time in Denton placing her at fourth all-time in the clutch goal category.
Kelsey Hodges, the anchor of an NT defense that allowed 22 goals, started all 23 games for the Mean Green. A unique player, Hodges scored seven goals, despite being a defender and the team's free-kick specialist.
Nine Conference Championships
2001 Regular-Season Title
2004 Regular-Season Title
2004 Conference Tournament Title
2005 Regular-Season Title
2005 Conference Tournament Title
2011 Regular-Season Title
2012 Reguar-Season Title