MIAMI, Fla. (11/6/04) - Senior forward Alyssa Carrier saved her best for last. With just eight seconds remaining Carrier headed in the game-winning goal to give the North Texas (16-5-1) women’s soccer team the Sun Belt Conference Championship and a its first ever berth into the NCAA Tournament in a 1-0 victory over Florida International.
Carrier scored the goal off a direct kick from junior Andrea Marak as the Mean Green captured its first Sun Belt Conference Tournament title. The victory by North Texas, its 16th of the season, sets a new single season school record for wins.
“It is definitely a monkey off my back and this program’s,” said Hedlund, who will lead the Mean Green to their first-ever NCAA Tournament next week. “We had so many teams in the past who were just a break or two away from being in the same position we are today. It’s just that today we got the break, and I couldn’t be any happier for this team.”
Carrier was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and was also named to the all-tournament team as she had two goals in three games.
“I am really happy for Alyssa,” Hedlund said. “She wasn’t a part of the All-Sun Belt team, and sometimes that is out of your control. But she went out there today and really showed what she was about.”
It was a physical match between the two teams as they combined for 37 fouls and 30 shots on goal.
Goalkeeper Briana Buchanan made six saves on the day and notched her school record setting 10th shutout of the season as she was also named to the all-tournament team.
Senior forward Melinda Pina was named to the all-tournament team for the fourth straight year becoming the first player in North Texas history to be a four-time all-tournament selection.
Freshman Dani Slavonic, who scored the game-winning goal for the Mean Green in the first round, was also named to the all-tournament team.
The victory by North Texas is the first in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship after entering the match 0-4 in the previous tournament finals.
“Hopefully this can be a stepping stone for us and we can win a lot more of these,” Hedlund said.
The Mean Green will await word on Monday for where they will go for NCAA Tournament play. The first round of the 2004 NCAA Division I Soccer Championship begins on November 12.