A Look Back At The 2014 North Texas Soccer Season

The Mean Green had a lot to celebrate about in 2014
Nov. 13, 2014

DENTON - The Mean Green soccer team continued its winning tradition in 2014 by recording its 20th winning season. North Texas did not just win. Under the helm of John Hedlund, the Mean Green tied a program record with 16 victories and captured its ninth conference championship by winning the Conference USA regular season title.

Playing in a different conference has not altered the Mean Green's winning ways. North Texas won 14 games in its first year in Conference USA last season and reached the conference championship finals. The 2014 team took it a step further. North Texas lost one game in conference play, en route to winning the regular season outright with an 8-1-1 record.

The Mean Green finished the 2014 regular season on a four-game winning streak with the last three victories being shutouts. North Texas entered the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed and shut out its first two opponents. The final set up a match between the top two teams: the Mean Green and No. 2 Rice. The two teams had recorded a 1-1 tie in their regular-season match-up.

After not allowing a goal in 477 straight minutes of play, the Mean Green defense gave up a Rice goal in the 21st minute of the championship game after Gabriela Iribarne found space out wide and was able to get a shot past goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine. North Texas was dealt two more blows when both Kerestine and Marchelle Davis left the game in the first half with injuries. Neither returned.

The Mean Green was now in an unfamiliar position; playing from behind and without its star keeper who had not missed a minute during the season. Backup keeper Anna Flobeck, who had just put a shot on a goal a few minutes earlier, put on a goalie's jersey for the first time in her college career. The sophomore ended up playing 60 minutes in goal, made two saves and did not look like she was playing in goal for the first time.

Rice, who spent a good amount of time in the Mean Green's defensive third, found the back of the net again in the 65th minute off a North Texas deflection to close the door a little more. For the second year in a row, the Mean Green came up just short in the finals.

Although the Mean Green came up short in its quest to return to the NCAA Tournament, the team achieved a long list of accomplishments. The squad was led by a few players who had breakout seasons.

Jackie Kerestine stands at the top of the list. The redshirt junior goalkeeper returned from a knee injury suffered at the start of the 2013 season. She came back stronger than before. Elected captain along with junior Lindsey Hulstein, Kerestine had to lead a young Mean Green defense that was starting three new defenders, including two freshman.

The goalkeeper did more than lead. She shattered school records and finished the season by posting a conference single-season goals against average record of 0.51. Kerestine recorded shutouts in 14 of NT's 16 wins, setting single-season and career marks. She also broke career records in wins and saves.

Throughout the season, Kerestine stayed atop the conference in GAA, save percentage and shutouts. The junior was named Conference USA Defensive of the Week four times, the most weekly awards out of any player in the league. Following the conclusion of the season, she received second-team all-conference honors and was named to the all-tournament team.

Karla Pineda had a break-out season for the Mean Green in her junior campaign. Placed in the offensive midfielder position, she was an offensive threat as a scorer and as a table setter. As the Mean Green's free-kick specialist, she scored nine goals from set pieces and set up five tallies. In the conference tournament, Pineda set up all of the Mean Green's three goals off corner kicks. Pineda was named first-team all-conference for the second time in her career after being among the conference's leaders in goals, assists and points. She led the Mean Green in all three categories. The junior was named to her third all-conference tournament.

Despite having a target on her back after a standout freshman season, Rachel Holden scored four goals as a sophomore and was named first-team all-conference. She started off her second year in high fashion; recording two game-winning goals in the team's first two matches of the season.

North Texas also brought in two highly-touted transfers who made a big impact in 2014. Marchelle Davis, a sophomore transfer from Texas, started 19 of 22 games and finished second on the team with five goals and 12 points. She scored the gamewinner in the 1-0 semifinal win against Middle Tennessee. Kayla Hunter, a freshman transfer from Baylor, was one of the first substitutes off the bench for the Mean Green. Not afraid to take a look at goal, Hunter finished fifth on the team in shots.

The success of the team was dependent upon the impact that 10 freshmen could have on the 2014 team. Seven of the 10 newcomers saw action, three were regular starters in the defense and four scored goals for the Mean Green.

Molly Grisham was another player who had an impact for the Mean Green. The junior started 12 games for the Mean Green in the midfield after posting three total starts in her first two years. She was named a co-offensive player of the week after scoring the game-winning goal against Vanderbilt, and was selected for C-USA's all-tournament team after scoring both goals in the 2-0 quarterfinal win against Marshall.

Jackie Moreau and Tess Graham continued their quiet, steady play for the Mean Green. Moreau finished second on the team in assists and posted career marks in assists (5) and points (9). Graham remained a fixture in the defense. She was one of three players to start all 22 games and leads the team with 56 straight starts. Graham was named to the conference all-tournament team.

North Texas returns all but two players next season. Leah Cox and Alyson Stallcup played in their final games for the Mean Green after contributing to four conference championships.

Head coach John Hedlund continues to lead the Mean Green after over 20 years of service at the University of North Texas. He recorded his 20th winning season in 2014 in 20 years as the head coach of the Mean Green. He won his 275th career victory in 2014 and picked up his ninth conference championship.
 

 

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