MOBILE, Ala. (11/3/05) North Texas sophomore forward Heather Hutyra showed why she is the reigning Sun Belt Conference Soccer Player of the Year. With North Texas tied with Western Kentucky 1-1, Hutyra scored the game-winning goal with 2:40 remaining to propel the Mean Green to a 2-1 win over the Lady Toppers in the semifinals of the 2005 Aeropostale Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
The top seeded Mean Green (15-3-2) advance to the Sun Belt Conference Championship game for the sixth consecutive year and will face the winner of the South Alabama-Middle Tennessee match on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the SBC title.
In a tight defensive struggle, neither team was able to score in the first half as the Mean Green out-shot the Lady Toppers 7-4. In the second half North Texas struck first as junior Julie Radford scored her second goal in as many games in the 49th minute.
Freshman Amanda Johnson fired a free kick into the Western Kentucky box and on a loose ball Radford buried a shot into the top right side of the net making it 1-0.
The Mean Green held onto that lead until Western Kentucky (7-10-3) evened the match up at 1-1 when Jenna Silverberg beat Kandice Ellis in the 71st minute of play.
The two teams went back and forth until the Hutyra was able to work her way free for the game-winning goal. Hutyra’s goal, her 19th of the season, came from the top of the box as she drilled a shot in the top left side of the net.
The win is the 15th of the season for North Texas, just one shy of the school record.
North Texas is going after its second consecutive Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and second straight NCAA Tournament berth. The Mean Green is 1-4 in the five previous SBC Tournament final games.