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Mean Green soccer wins opening round thriller in extra time

Mean Green soccer wins opening round thriller in extra time

North Texas graduate forward Hailey Sutton (3) celebrates with ssenior forward Rachel Holden (16) after scoring a goal against Old Dominion. Dylan Nadwodny

Mean Green soccer wins opening round thriller in extra time
November 02
14:47 2016

Win or go home.

Those are the stakes once tournament play begins.

This immense pressure raised the level of play from both sides Wednesday afternoon when Old Dominion University and North Texas played. Through 83 minutes, neither side could find a goal.

But the two teams combined for three goals over a nine-minute span that resulted in a classic match that the Mean Green (15-4-1, 9-1) ultimately won 2-1 in extra time.

“It was a tough battle,” head coach John Hedlund said. “It wasn’t your normal one versus eight seed, Old Dominion is very good. I have to also give credit to my players for coming back from a heart breaking goal. It was great character from this team to get this win.”

In the 83rd minute, sophomore forward Taylor Torres sent in a cross deflected and fell right to senior Anna Flobeck’s feet at the top of the box. With the keeper out of position, Flobeck rifled a shot into the back of the net in what felt like the game-winning goal.

With the clock dwindling down, North Texas felt like they had secured the victory — until they made a costly error. Old Dominion sent in a cross and the defense failed to shift over, leaving an Old Dominion forward wide open for an easy header goal with just 20 seconds left.

Extra time was needed to decide this one, and that is when the seniors took over.

“To be honest, [the seniors] are the ones that picked me up,” Hedlund said. “My captains got everybody together and they said ‘we’re not losing this game’ and they went after it.”

The three senior captains of Marchelle Davis, Flobeck and Rachel Holden met with the opposing captain and officials, then took the field. The extra time was played in the golden goal format, meaning the first team to score wins.

Just two minutes into the extra frame, senior forward Hailey Sutton dribbled down the right wing and sent in a precise through ball between Holden and the keeper. And just as she has done 37 other times, Holden beat the keeper and scored the goal.

“It’s a really good feeling,” Holden said. “In overtime, everyone is trying their absolute hardest. Everybody is tired.  It felt great to get that goal.”

Old Dominion is as physically imposing as any of the eight teams in the tournament, and without starting center back Tori Phillips, the Mean Green were constantly challenged on defense.

But with freshman defender Dominique James sliding over to fill the center back spot, and freshman Madeline Guderian taking her place on the left, the defense remained stout.

“[Having] two freshmen coming in and playing their first conference tournament game, I think they played really well.” assistant coach Daniel Dobson said. “Just lie all season once a starter goes down, we have a sub come on and do the job just as well.”

North Texas now faces the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup between Louisiana Tech University and Florida Atlantic University. With Phillips returning to the starting defense, that should help the fatigue.

“Tournament time it’s just grinding it out,” assistant coach Daniel Dobson said. “Each team doesn’t want it to be their last game. [We] just need to keep the energy and work rate up and see what happens.”

Next up: The Mean Green take on the winner of the Louisiana Tech vs. Florida Atlantic on Friday.

Featured Image: North Texas graduate forward Hailey Sutton (3) celebrates with ssenior forward Rachel Holden (16) after scoring a goal against Old Dominion. 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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North Texas Daily @ntdaily
@Mizecarter: @UNTPrez There will be a follow-up State of the University in January to further address COVID's impact on UNT. @ntdaily
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North Texas Daily @ntdaily
@Mizecarter: The presentation lasted around 30 mins, but here's some extra info from @UNTPrez: -UNT enrollment rose to around 40,800, 1,500 higher than last year -55% of classes are now fully online -COVID and loss of some state funding have contributed to $30-500 mil. loss in revenue.
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