DENTON, Texas (10-31-08) The Mean Green soccer team dropped their much-anticipated regular season Senior Night finale to Denver 3-0 Friday evening at the North Texas Soccer Field. The loss means that North Texas (14-3-1, 8-2-1) will open the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Wednesday as the number two seed.
Denver (16-2-2, 9-1-1) clinched the number one seed with the win and has now beaten North Texas in four consecutive games dating back to 2006.
North Texas was outshot 17-11 and 8-4 in shots on goal. For North Texas the final score was their largest deficit of the season and also only their second loss at home.
"Well I like the way we came out in the first 15 minutes and attacked their goal," North Texas head coach John Hedlund said. "But then they came down and scored a goal on their first shot of the night on a set piece and it just totally changed the game. We now have to just put this game behind us and focus our attention on the conference tournament."
The Pioneers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the eighth minute on Taryn Hemming’s 14th goal of the season. Her shot was set up off a deflection on a corner kick and got past both goalkeeper Mandy Hall and defender Kelli Lunsford.
Then right before halftime, Mariah Johnston drilled a shot in the back left corner from almost 30 yards away past a lunging Hall to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead into intermission. The goal was Johnston’s fourth of the season.
North Texas had a golden opportunity to cut the deficit to 2-1 late in the second half when senior Brittany Cleveland beat goalkeeper Mackenzie Snyder but her shot hit the left post and ricocheted across the box and out of harm’s way.
Denver would add their third goal of the evening in the 78th minute on Dana Schonberger’s third goal of the season.
All six seniors (Veronica Ayala, Katy Booth, Cleveland, Gennifer Hurst, Amanda Johnson and Amanda Mitchell) were honored before the game with a jersey-plaque and a bouquet of flowers.
North Texas will open the tournament with a match against number seven seed South Alabama on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.