DENTON, Texas (10-23-08) The North Texas soccer team hosts a pair of important Sun Belt games this weekend beginning with the second place Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (9-5-2, 7-1) Friday evening at 7 p.m.
Then on Sunday the Mean Green will welcome in the undefeated Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky (12-0-3, 6-0-2), who sit third in the conference, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. Fans who attend Saturday’s football game against Troy can bring their ticket stub to Sunday’s soccer game and get free admission.
North Texas (12-2-1, 6-1-1) is currently fourth place in the Sun Belt but are only one game back of first place Denver, who the Mean Green play the last game of the regular season at home on Oct. 31.
These conditions, along with the fact that North Texas lost at Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky last season in overtime, make this weekend all the more critical for the Mean Green as they try and claim the number one seed before entering the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
“For us we just can’t get ahead of ourselves,” North Texas head coach John Hedlund said. “We’ve got to take this one game at a time. Our biggest goal is to make the Denver game mean something. I like the fact that we have all these games at home.”
Home has been very kind for the Mean Green as they have yet again put forth an outstanding record at the North Texas Soccer Complex. After two more home wins last weekend, North Texas holds a 9-1 record on their own turf and has compiled a 71-5-5 record at home over the past nine seasons.
North Texas has won three in a row and five of their past six, along with a double overtime tie at South Alabama back on Oct. 10. In their previous game against Arkansas State, Freshman of the Year candidate Kelsey Perlman scored the go-ahead goal and also had an assist on Kendall Juett’s goal that sealed a 2-0 win.
Perlman has been perhaps the Mean Green’s most consistent player and currently leads the team in goals (9), assists (4) and points (22).
The other player vying for that Freshman of the Year Award is Middle Tennessee’s forward Shan Jones. The Mean Green defense will look to slow down the 5’4” freshman from Wales who has scored 11 goals this season, five of which have been game-winners and have helped the Blue Raiders win eight of their past nine contests.
North Texas leads the all-time series over Middle Tennessee 6-4-1. They also hold a 7-2-1 advantage over Western Kentucky.
The Hilltoppers have won six consecutive Sun Belt games and are ranked 12th in the Great Lakes Region by Socerbuzz.com. They are led by freshman goalkeeper Libby Stout, who has 11 shutouts this season and has allowed only four goals.
Live stats for both games this weekend will be available on MeanGreenSports.com.