Lunsford Scores Game Winner In Dramatic 4-3 Win Over Western Kentucky

DENTON, Texas (10-26-08) Kelli Lunsford scored the game-winning goal on a penalty kick with one second left in regulation to help propel the Mean Green soccer team to a 4-3 victory over Western Kentucky Sunday afternoon at the North Texas Soccer Field.

The win moves North Texas (14-2-1, 8-1-1) into a tie of first place with Denver (13-1-3, 7-1-2) who beat Western Kentucky 1-0 Sunday. The two teams will square off Friday, October 31 at North Texas in the regular season finale with the winner earning the outright number one seed in the Sun Belt Tournament.

"This game had everything, all the components for a great game," North Texas head coach John Hedlund said. "I don't think you will find a more exciting game for the fans to watch then this one. These were two very good teams going at each other for 90 minutes and fortunately for us we came out on top." 

North Texas has now won five in a row, seven of eight and has set themselves up for the opportunity they wanted at the beginning of the season.

Sunday’s game proved to be anything but normal. The Mean Green jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first half after goals from Kelsey Perlman (11) and Veronica Ayala (4).

Perlman scored her goal in the first minute of the game on a cross field pass from Gennifer Hurst, who picked up her third assist of the season. Nine minutes later Ayala knocked in a backwards header on Kelli Lunsford’s fourth assist.

Western Kentucky got back into the game when Kristi Cocchiarella scored her eight goal of the season on a penalty kick, cutting the deficit to 2-1 right into the half.

Junior Kellie Walker scored two goal in the second half for the Hilltoppers to gain a 3-2 lead with only 25 minutes remaining in regulation.

Walker’s first goal was an all individual as she beats two defenders, brought goal keeper Mandy Hall out of the net and tied the game 2-2. Then in the 84th minute, Walker took an assist from Amanda Buechel to take the 3-2 lead.

With only six minutes left in the game, North Texas senior forward Brittany Cleveland tied the game on her fifth goal of the season on another assist from Lunsford when she beat goalkeeper Libby Stout in the left corner.

That set up a dramatic ending when with only seconds remaining in the game, Stout made what looked to be save that sent the game into overtime. However, Stout then elbowed a North Texas player and was given a red card, giving Lunsford a shot to win the game on a penalty kick which she did by beating backup goalkeeper LB Wathen in the back corner.

The goal was Lunsford’s sixth of the season and third-game winner of the season.

 Sunday’s showdown with Denver is set for a 7 p.m. start Friday, Oct. 31 at the North Texas Soccer Field.



North Texas Mean Green