VIDEO: Casting A Spotlight On The Soccer Team's Defense
Tess Graham And The Defense Take Pride In The Shutouts
What current Mean Green soccer player has the longest streak for consecutive starts? The answer might stump more than a few people.
Tess Graham has been a fixture on the Mean Green soccer field for the last four years, but as a defender she doesn’t get a lot of attention. She has started 69 straight games and has moved into the top 10 for most starts in school history with 78.
As a defender, she does not get the recognition that a midfielder or forward might get. Part of the reason is her lack of statistics. Except for minutes played, Graham does not record any individual statistics during a soccer game. The goalkeeper records saves and shutouts, but there are no specific statistics that record what a defender does.
And what Tess Graham and the rest of the Mean Green defense do is integral to the team’s success. Nationally, North Texas ranks seventh as team in shutout percentage. The Mean Green has recorded eight shutouts this season and allowed just six goals in 13 games. That great play at defense has contributed to the team’s 10 wins this season.
The Mean Green defense’s job is helped by having Jackie Kerestine in goal. The redshirt senior has set every career record and almost all the single-season goalkeeping records at North Texas. Yet, her job is made a little bit easier if the defense limits the amount of shots and corner kicks that the goalkeeper has to face. And, the defenders do not get a statistic recorded in their name for making a tackle, preventing a shot from going off or intercepting a through-ball that might have led to a break-away goal.
Graham and the rest of the Mean Green defense pride themselves on the shutouts. They take it personally when a goal is scored on them. A shutout in their world is like scoring a goal.
Graham and the Mean Green soccer team are on the road this weekend. North Texas plays at Charlotte on Friday night at 6 p.m., central. They will also play Old Dominion on Sunday at 12 p.m.