DENTON, Texas (9/25/08) With the pre-season games behind them and an impressive 6-1 record to boast, the Mean Green soccer team is now primed for a run at the Sun Belt Conference title beginning this weekend. Their quest kicks off on Friday when they travel to Louisiana to take on Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m. and will then move on to Louisiana-Monroe on Sunday at 1 p.m.
North Texas has never lost to either ULL or ULM, compiling a combined 13-0 record against them. The Ragin’ Cajuns (2-5-1) are coming off a 2-1 loss at Northwestern State and have struggled offensively, scoring only seven goals in the eight games. The Warhawks (3-4) meanwhile are in the midst of a four-game losing streak and play Denver Friday evening.
North Texas has had their share of highlights early on this season, including an overtime win against Oklahoma and a road shutout victory last week in Waco against Baylor. Against the Bears the Mean Green defense was stifling and Kelsey Pearlman and Brittany Cleveland delivered the lone goals en route to the team’s first ever win in Waco.
“It was a huge win,” North Texas head coach John Hedlund said. “That’s a very tough place to play with a great atmosphere. To go in there and get a couple goals early and then shut their offense out completely and get the win was huge for us and should give us that additional confidence going into our conference schedule.”
Since an early September home loss to UTSA the Mean Green has responded by winning their last three contests and has outscored their opponents 8-1. While the loss was a surprise at the time, Hedlund feels like the UTSA game was indeed a wakeup call to his young team and they have responded in the right way.
“I think a few of our players took them for granted and obviously didn’t put their best performance on the field,” he said. “Of the 24 players here, 12 are freshmen and they’re still learning that you have to bring that intensity into each game. I think they understand that now and they know they can’t take games off. Since then we’ve improved every game and shown a lot of character, including the big win against Baylor. Were still a young team and were going to make some mistakes but if we continue to grow then we’re going to be ok.”