North Texas Daily

Mean Green soccer overcomes injuries, defeats Western Kentucky at home

Mean Green soccer overcomes injuries, defeats Western Kentucky at home

North Texas junior defender Cat Sebazco (2) celebrates with junior midfielder Katie Gernsbacher (4) after scoring a goal on October 2. Dylan Nadwodny

Mean Green soccer overcomes injuries, defeats Western Kentucky at home
October 02
18:31 2016

North Texas soccer had nine full days between its second and third Conference USA match, and intended on using that time to rest, recuperate and prepare for Western Kentucky University.

But instead of getting healthy, two key players suffered significant injuries. Senior defender Alexsis Cable went down with a leg injury and is out for the season. Sophomore keeper Brooke Bradley broke her hand, and her injury may require surgery.

Despite the lingering injury question marks, the Mean Green (8-3-1, 3-0) managed to regroup and defeat the Hilltoppers (8-4, 3-1) Sunday afternoon at home 2-1. With the win, North Texas extended its home C-USA unbeaten streak to 36 games.

With Bradley and Cable out, head coach John Hedlund started freshman Miranda Schoening in goal, junior Tori Phillips at center back and senior Hailey Sutton in the rotating outside winger position.

“[Sutton] earned the spot,” head coach John Hedlund said. “She played really well last week against Marshall and then she had a great game today scoring the goal.”

The Mean Green wasted no time getting on the board, as Sutton found the back of the net 19 seconds into the match to give North Texas a 1-0 lead.

After that goal, Western Kentucky settled in, especially on defense. The Hilltoppers kept the Mean Green offense at bay for the rest of the first half, playing a much slower tempo that countered North Texas’ normal game plan.

“It’s two different styles,” Hedlund said. “We’re very direct, and they’re more of a possession team. We’ll let them have the ball but we don’t want them to have the ball in our third. Everyone knows our style of play and it works for us.”

Making her first start in net this season, Schoening played well, only allowing one goal and making several spectacular saves.

The play of the game came when Western Kentucky fired a shot heading for the top left corner late in the first half. Reacting quickly, Schoening shuffled her feet and made a diving catch to keep the Hilltoppers scoreless going into halftime.

“You might only have to make one big save a game,” Schoening said. “But as long as you’re engaged in the game and following the game you’re going to be able to make that save.”

In the 70th minute, junior midfielder Tori Phillips sent in a ball from a free kick that was headed by senior midfielder Anna Flobeck. The shot hit the post, but junior forward Cat Sebazco bolted across the box and put away the rebound to extend the Mean Green’s lead to 2-0.

Sebazco played 41 minutes up top and made the game easier for the other players with timely runs. As a result, the field opened up for North Texas, allowimg them to win the game.

“We just had to focus and play our type of soccer,” Sebazco said. “Being back-to-back champs [we] have to maintain and keep our style of play going and not get distracted.”

Next up: The Mean Green head to El Paso to take on the University of Texas at El Paso at 8 p.m. Friday.

Featured Image: North Texas junior defender Cat Sebazco (2) celebrates with junior midfielder Katie Gernsbacher (4) after scoring a goal on October 2. 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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