DENTON, Texas (9/6/09) - Senior midfielder Kendall Juett proved why she was selected the Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year Sunday afternoon, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime and leading the Mean Green to a 2-1 victory over Texas Tech at the North Texas Soccer Field.
"This was a big game for us considering we lost on Friday to SMU,"Juett said. "It was nice to kind of get that monkey (first goal of the season) off my back. I had a couple of chances during the game that I missed out on. I'm probably my biggest critic but that was a great feeling to score that goal."
Juett's goal, the 27th of her career and 10th game-winner, came six minutes into overtime and was off a big mistake by Texas Tech. A Red Raider headed the ball straight up in the air and when it eventually came back down Juett outraced three Texas Tech defenders and set herself up perfectly for a shot that sailed into the back left corner of the net.
The win was even more special for the Mean Green considering they lost two players (Lauren Shockey and Kara Brooks) to concussions. Shockey would eventually return only to suffer a leg injury and was afterwards carted off the field, however she is expected to back next week. Brooks on the other hand suffered three broken bones to her face and will be out indefinitely.
"I knew going in that Texas Tech was going to be a tough challenge especially since they knocked off nationally ranked TCU on Friday," North Texas head coach John Hedlund said. "But in the end I couldn’t of been more proud of my team today, we beat a very solid Big 12 team.
North Texas jumped on the Red Raiders early when freshman forward Michelle Young scored her first collegiate goal at the 12:29 mark. Young took a pass from Kelsey Perlman in stride at midfield, beat her defender and raced all the way down the field to beat Texas Tech goalkeeper Erin Wikelius.
However, the Red Raiders responded in the 74th minute on Tiffini Smith's first goal of the season to tie the game 1-1.
The Mean Green outshot Texas Tech 21-18, including 4-0 in overtime. Juett had a season-high nine shots while Kelli Lunsford had four. Junior goalkeeper Mandy Hall was terrific again stopping nine shots.
For the Mean Green soccer team it was the second straight season they defeated a Big 12 opponent in overtime. Last year it was Lunsford scoring the game-winning goal in OT against Oklahoma. North Texas has now won three straight matches against Big 12 (at Baylor last season) opponents dating back to last season.
"The fans were great today, the atmosphere felt a lot like the OU game of last year," Hedlund said. "But instead of Kelli getting the game winner it was my other senior Kendall stepping up and scoring the winning goal in overtime, she really came through for us today.
The win was Hedlund's 199th of his career and he will have an opportunity to get number 200 next Friday when North Texas hosts Baylor at 7 p.m.