Soccer Squares Off With Rival Denver For Top Seed On Halloween Night
DENTON, Texas (10-29-08) ? This Friday North Texas (14-2-1, 8-1-1) and Denver (15-2-2, 8-1-1) square off for the best record in the regular season and the right to be the number one seed.
DENTON, Texas (10-29-08) When the 2008 schedule came out for the Mean Green soccer team one could not help but notice the enticing matchup of the last game of the season against Denver and wonder if that night would determine the regular season Sun Belt champion.
That case had indeed become a reality as this Friday North Texas (14-2-1, 8-1-1) and Denver (15-2-2, 8-1-1) square off for the best record in the regular season and the right to be the number one seed in the Sun Belt Tournament beginning Wednesday, October 5 and lasting through Oct. 8 at the North Texas Soccer Complex.
The Denver-North Texas matchup has grown into a rivalry ever since the Mean Green started Sun Belt play back in 2000. All-time the Pioneers hold a 9-4-1 advantage, having last defeated North Texas 2-0 in the 2007 Sun Belt Championship. They also handed the Mean Green their only loss at home in 2007 in a 3-2 overtime win.
North Texas is currently clicking on all cylinders and has won five games in a row and 11 of their last 13. Over the past weekend they had two enormous victories over Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky which have helped vault them into a first place tie with Denver.
“Right now we’re seeing the full package at the right time,” North Texas head coach John Hedlund said. “We feel good with the situation in front of us and we’re playing our best soccer at the end of the season and that’s when it counts. We’re right where we need to be.”
In the Middle Tennessee contest freshman forward Kelsey Perlman all but wrapped up the Freshman of the Year award by outplaying her counterpart freshman rival Shan Jones. Perlman scored the game’s first goal and Jones was held to only one shot as the Mean Green held on for a 2-1 win.
Perlman has bursts onto the scene in 2008 and leads the team in points (26), goals (11) and is tied for firsts with four assists.
On Sunday the Mean Green earned a dramatic 4-3 victory over the then undefeated Hilltoppers when Kelli Lunsford scored the game-winning goal on a penalty kick with one second left in regulation to put North Texas in first place. For Lunsford it was her third game-winning goal of the season.
Denver has also won 11 of their past 13 games and bring with them one of the conference’s top players in senior Taryn Hemmings. The freshman trio of Hannah Crawford, Kara Brooks and Shannon Gorrie will get the call to slow down Hemmings just as they did against Jones last weekend.
Friday’s Halloween game will start at 7 p.m. but there will be a Fall Festival that starts at 6 p.m. outside the stadium. Fans are encouraged to come out and enjoy candy, a bounce house and raffles.
Live stats will also be available on MeanGreenSports.com.