DENTON, Texas (11-06-08) For the first time in nine seasons, the Mean Green soccer team was unable to reach the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game after a 1-0 loss to the hands of Western Kentucky Thursday evening in the semi-finals.
The Mean Green outshot the Hilltoppers 18-14 but was unable to capitalize on their opportunities in front of the net.
Western Kentucky (15-1-4) scored the lone goal of the game in the 23rd minute when senior forward Kristin Cocchiarella received a perfect lead pass from Amanda Buechel and then blasted a shot past Mandy Hall to gain a 1-0 lead.
North Texas (15-4-1) had a couple of golden opportunities to score, including a shot in the 17th minute from Brittany Cleveland that was saved in front of the box by all-conference goalkeeper Libby Stout.
Then in the second half with only 30 seconds remaining, freshman sensation Kelsey Perlman had a great look but was denied by Stout’s 10th save of the evening. In total North Texas outshot Western Kentucky 11-7 in the second half.
"Well it's disappointing because we threw everything at them in the second half," North Texas head coach John Hedlund said. "Most of the play was in front of their goal but in the end we just could not score the tying goal. I feel for the team, especially the six seniors who have played their last game tonight. We had a good year winning 15 games, but it just wasn't a special year like we all expected."
The Mean Green finishes the season by winning 15 games in a season for the fifth year in a row.
Western Kentucky moves on to play Denver in the championship game Saturday at 1 p.m. at the North Texas Soccer Field.