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Mean Green soccer knocks off Charlotte in chippy game with postseason implications

Mean Green soccer knocks off Charlotte in chippy game with postseason implications

North Texas senior midfielder Marchelle Davis (11) recieves a pass and works the ball up the pitch against a Texas Southern defender on September 9. Dylan Nadwodny

Mean Green soccer knocks off Charlotte in chippy game with postseason implications
October 21
22:57 2016

Midway through the second half of North Texas soccer’s game against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the ball rolled out of bounds right beside Mean Green assistant coach Daniel Dobson. Dobson promptly picked the ball up, but instead of throwing it to the Charlotte player, hesitated and held onto it momentarily, permanently altering the mood in the game.

What was already a rough and tense game with postseason implications turned into anger and frustration from Charlotte towards Dobson and the entire bench.

“That’s pathetic” and “control your bench” were spewed from the Charlotte assistant coaches at both Dobson and head coach John Hedlund during the moment.

The exchanges continued beyond that incident, however, it appeared to only invigorate the Mean Green (11-4-1, 6-1) as they defeated Charlotte (9-6-1, 5-2-1) 2-0 Friday night.

“What a great game,” Hedlund said. “They’ve got one of the best offenses we’ve seen this year.”

That offense from the 49ers was in control for much of the first half. Charlotte had slightly more possession, but it did not amount to a disparity in shots as both teams had five in the first 45 minutes.

On top of the two known injuries, North Texas was also without senior forward Rachel Holden, as she accumulated five yellow cards over the season, resulting in a one-game suspension.

Without Holden up top, the entire lineup shifted as senior midfielder Marchelle Davis moved to forward to compliment senior forward Hailey Sutton and freshman forward Brittnye Loewen, with sophomore forward Taylor Torres playing more in the midfield.

In the 47th minute, that switch paid off as Davis was found by junior defender Chelsei Soto near the box and Davis scored far post as the keeper came off her line.

“[Davis] was the player that we were trying to get loose the whole night,” Hedlund said. “We made the the decision as a staff to get Marchelle out of the midfield and put her up top, and it worked for us.”

After the goal, Charlotte revved up the intensity even more, pushing higher and higher as the game progressed.

This forced the Mean Green to make a change of their own.

“[Charlotte] changed it up and started attacking with five instead of four,” Hedlund said. “My assistants came to me and said that we need to [put a fifth defender in] now. So we did that, and it worked.”

The 49ers scored 35 goals in their first 15 games entering tonight’s match, and their offense featured one of the top goal scorers in the conference in Martha Thomas. Defending them became taxing on the defense which made the fifth player even more important.

Freshman defender Dominique James was a vital piece on the defense that kept Charlotte at bay the entire night.

“When you have five in the back it’s easier to shift over,” James said. “It’s easier to help each other [and] defend more than when you have [five].”

As the game entered the last seven minutes, free kick specialist Tori Phillips sent in a threatening ball right in front of the net from about 40 yards out. The result was a massive jump ball where a 49ers defender headed the ball the wrong way, into their own net.

The bench erupted as Dobson and goalkeeper coach Matt Montanye emphatically gave off screams and high fives as the Charlotte coaches watched merely ten yards away.

The game continued to be physical with hard fouls both ways but the Mean Green held on for the win and stayed in control of their own championship destiny.

“Beating Charlotte is a really big deal,” Davis said. “I think it just gives us an extra sense of confidence. Like, we can actually get this ring and it’s a great feeling.”

Next up: The Mean Green host Old Dominion University at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Featured Image: North Texas senior midfielder Marchelle Davis (11) recieves a pass and works the ball up the pitch against a Texas Southern defender on September 9. Dylan Nadwodny

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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1 Comment

  1. UNT_fan
    UNT_fan October 21, 23:11

    UNT keeper had a great game as well, making 2 critical saves in the second half!!

    Reply to this comment

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