North Texas starts their pursuit of a 4th Sun Belt title this weekend as they take on Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee on the road to kick off the conference season. North Texas exits non-conference play having led the Sun Belt in goals, and tied for the lead in fewest goals allowed during non-league play, which saw the Mean Green play a tough schedule that featured three teams (New Mexico, Texas Tech, SMU) that are regionally ranked.
Rank and File
North Texas is now ranked 10th in the South Region of the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com Poll. It is North Texas’ first apperance on the NSCAA rankings this season.
Stone Wall Mandy Hall
Mandy Hall has already placed her name among the best goalkeepers in North Texas history. Hall sits first in career shutouts (20), ranks second in career goals against average (0.97) and places second in career saves with 213. With four more saves, Hall will become the career North Texas leader in saves.
The contest against SMU saw North Texas welcome a record number of fans, with 1,246 fans passing through the turnstiles to see the 3-2 overtime contest in Denton. North Texas soccer was putting on a benefit for Livestrong that night, and wore special yellow jerseys, sold shirts and took donations that benefited Livestrong. The previous high for a North Texas home game was 1,173, set on 9/5/2008 vs. Oklahoma.
Western Kentucky Series History
Last season, North Texas dropped a 2-0 decision in Bowling Green to the Hilltoppers. North Texas leads the series 8-4-1, with the Hilltoppers taking the previous two meetings. North Texas and Western Kentucky have met twice in two of the last three years, as they also met in the Sun Belt Tournament in 2007 and 2008
Middle Tennessee Series History
Last season, North Texas was unbeaten against Middle Tennessee, picking up a 2-1 win in the Sun Belt Tournament, and playing to a scoreless tie in Murfreesboro during the regular season. North Texas is riding a three game unbeaten streak against the Blue Raiders, dating back to 2008.
All We Do Is Win
North Texas has never had a losing season in their 15 years as a program, making the Mean Green one of the most consistent programs in the nation. In fact, North Carolina (28 seasons), William & Mary (28), Portland (24), Notre Dame (22), Stanford (22) and Penn State (16) have active streaks of more consecutive winning seasons.
Four More Years?
Over the past four years (current through 9/16/2010), North Texas is tied with three other schools for 23rd with 47 wins over those four seasons, according to research by CollegeSoccer360.com. North Texas has more wins over the four year period than tradional powers Georgetown (44), Texas (42), and Missouri (42).
We Must Protect This House
Since the 2000 season, the Mean Green has been nearly perfect in defending its home turf. During the past 10 plus seasons the Mean Green has made its way into the NCAA record books at home. The Mean Green went unbeaten for 24 straight games from Oct. 3, 1999 until Oct. 11, 2002. That streak is the 12th longest in NCAA history. Two years later a new one started on Oct. 3, 2004 and didn’t end until Oct. 22, 2007. It covered 23 straight games and is the 13th longest home unbeaten streak in NCAA history. North Texas is one of just three schools in the nation to have two unbeaten streaks at home of 23 games or more in NCAA history.
Kelsey Perlman was named Offensive MVP of the Red Raider Classic for her two-goal performance in Lubbock from 9/10-9/12. Michelle Young also recieved all-tournament honors in Lubbock.
Young named All-Sun Belt
Sophomore forward Michelle Young returns to action following a second-team All-Sun Belt campaign as a freshman. Young was one of just four freshmen to be honored by the league’s coaches in 2009. The Mesquite native’s honors were well-deserved, as she led North Texas with nine goals, 19 points and four game-winners last season.
Three returning North Texas players have seen the field in every single contest since they arrived on campus. Junior Kelsey Perlman (48 games/47 starts), sophomore Michelle Young (28 games/27 starts) and sophomore Ellen Scarfone (28 games/27 starts) have never missed a game in their respective careers.
Tops in the League
In 2009, North Texas led the Sun Belt in shots per game and goals against average. The Mean Green lead both of these categories again in 2010 as well as goals, goals per game, points and assists.
Shots Per Game (2010)
1. North Texas 17.56
2. Arkansas State 14.88
3. Louisiana-Lafayette 12.89
1. North Texas 24
2. Troy 21
3. Denver 19
LAST TIME OUT
SMU 3, North Texas 2 (OT)
DENTON, Texas- North Texas (5-3-1) fell to SMU (5-2-1) in a hard-fought 3-2 overtime contest before a record crowd at the North Texas Soccer Field. Julie Lackey and Ellen Scarfone scored goals for the Mean Green.
The crowd of 1,246 is a school record for any North Texas soccer game, besting the previous total of 1,173 set against Oklahoma on September 5, 2008. North Texas wore special yellow jerseys to support Livestrong and the fight against cancer.
“We knew it would be this type of game, and go down to the wire,” said North Texas Head Coach John Hedlund. “SMU got the goal, and we did not, and now we have to move on to conference play.”
Julie Lackey started the game’s scoring in the 28th minute when she headed in a cross from Nikki Crocco to give the Mean Green the early advantage. The goal was Lackey’s fifth of the year. Ryanne Lewis then tied the contest for the Mustangs in the 43rd minute with a volley at the edge of the 18-yard box.
North Texas was awarded a penalty kick in the 63rd minute when Kelsey Perlman was taken down in the box. Ellen Scarfone then converted the ensuing penalty kick, her third score of the season, to give the Mean Green their second lead of the night.
Shelby Hartweck knocked in a low cross from Courtney Smith to equalize the game in the 74th minute, and send the contest to overtime. Logan May scored on a low cross four minutes into the extra session to give the Mustangs the victory.