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Mean Green soccer uses early goal to hold off the Miners on road

Mean Green soccer uses early goal to hold off the Miners on road

North Texas junior forward Cat Sebazco (2) battles for the ball against freshman defender Marah Abu-Tayeh (6) of Marshall on September 22. Dylan Nadwodny

Mean Green soccer uses early goal to hold off the Miners on road
October 08
13:57 2016

In a game where the wind forced goal kicks to go either 70 yards or 30 yards, the Mean Green pulled out a tough 1-0 win over the University of Texas at El Paso Friday night.

Senior forward Hailey Sutton scored the first and only goal of the match just three minutes into the contest. The Miners (9-3-2, 2-2) had not trailed or conceded a goal at home all year.

“Just listening to what the coaches say in our pre game meetings [helps me],” Sutton said. “I’ve just been trying to work hard, listen to what they’re saying and apply it on the field.”

With this 1-0 lead, the Mean Green (9-3-1, 4-0) were able to do what they do best: defend.

As the game continued to unfold, the two teams went back and forth with the wind and cold making play uncomfortable for all of the players.

“The conditions affected us [because] we had to be more defensive,” junior defender Chelsei Soto said. “But in the second half we were used to the wind and the weather, so we felt more comfortable to push up and play more offense.”

With the game being more unpredictable, the defense became even more cautious than usual. Any ball in the box was immediately cleared, which in the second half was easier with the wind behind them.

As clearances almost reached the UTEP keeper’s box, the Mean Green were able to reconvene and remain stout, which aided the shutout.

“The wind was a huge factor,” assistant coach Daniel Dobson said. “Our game-plan was just keep the ball out of our end as much as possible and protect that lead.”

As usual, the defense kept its form and limited UTEP’s chances. However, they were under even more pressure tonight because of the early goal.

Defending for 87 minutes took a toll, but the players were able to grind out a significant conference win.

“I think it was the communication between not only the back line, but the [midfielders] and the forwards,” Soto said. “We worked together as a team, to talk and just be comfortable with each other.”

For the first time this season, the bench was used sparingly as only two substitutes played over 20 minutes and just three played over five.

This was a different experience for the team, and it is even more peculiar considering they have another game in just 39 hours.

“The starters were just giving us good minutes and really playing hard,” Dobson said. “We just felt it was the right call to keep them in for this game and really push and go for it. But, we’ll definitely need our bench on Sunday.”

With the victory, the team is now 4-0 in conference play and has knocked off a majority of the top teams in Conference-USA. As the team hits its stride, the aura in the locker room, and bus, was one of confidence and hype.

“We’re pretty pumped,” Sutton said. “Everybody is super excited [about the wins] and the mood is really good right now.”

Next up: North Texas soccer travels to take on the University of Texas at San Antonio at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Featured Image: North Texas junior forward Cat Sebazco (2) battles for the ball against freshman defender Marah Abu-Tayeh (6) of Marshall on September 22. 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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