DENTON (10/31/04) For the second time in four years the North Texas women’s soccer team has won the Sun Belt Conference title with a 1-0 victory over Florida International at the Mean Green Soccer Complex. The conference title is the second in school history and completes a 6-1-1 record for North Texas in the Sun Belt this season.
North Texas (13-5-1, 6-1-1) shares the conference title with Middle Tennessee and will enter the SBC tournament as the No. 2 seed and face the No. 7 seed South Alabama Jaguars in the first round on Wednesday.
“It’s a really good feeling to win this game and the conference title,” said North Texas head coach John Hedlund. “This was a really physical game and they are a very physical team. I think we showed a lot of character even when we weren’t playing well today. We just were able to find a way to win”.
In a tough, physical match that saw the two teams combine for 39 fouls, three yellow cards, and one red card, North Texas scored the only goal of the match in the 20th minute.
The goal was an own goal by FIU as North Texas freshman forward Heather Hutyra made a crossing pass from 20 yards out that was deflected by FIU defender Yaneash Donaldson into her own net to give the Mean Green a 1-0 lead.
Both teams fought a fierce second half wind that turned the game into a defensive struggle. North Texas had its best chance to extend their lead when senior forward Elaine Bacchus nearly connected on a crossing pass with senior forward Melinda Pina.
The final 20 minutes of play were a physical battle as two yellow cards were dished out and FIU head coach Everton Edwards was ejected from the match.
North Texas goalkeeper Briana Buchanan tied the single season school record for shutouts with her eighth of the season after making three saves on the day.
The Mean Green will now advance to the Sun Belt Conference tournament looking for the school’s first tournament championship and its first ever berth to the NCAA tournament. The 2004 Sun Belt Conference Soccer Tournament will be held in Miami, Fla.