North Texas Daily

Mean Green soccer wins season finale, secures No. 2 seed

Mean Green soccer wins season finale, secures No. 2 seed

October 31
16:56 2013

Tim Cato / Sports Editor

Battling muddy field conditions and a strong west wind, the Mean Green soccer team ended the season with a 2-1 victory over the University of Texas-El Paso on Thursday afternoon and secured the No. 2 seed in the Conference USA West Division.

UNT (12-5-3, 5-3-2) scored just two minutes into the game for the team’s quickest goal of the year, taking a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The goal was provided by senior defender Kelsey Hodges, collecting a rebound in a scrum and knocking it into the upper left corner of the net. With the shot, Hodges took sole possession of the eighth place in school history with 31 career goals.

“I took advantage of it and it came within a few minutes of the game starting, so that was nice for us to take that lead early in the game,” Hodges said.

It was the final home game for the senior captain, who is also second all-time in minutes played for the Mean Green.

“It’s good to win the last time you play on this field,” she said. “It brings me to tears just thinking about it. It’s very bittersweet and it’s hard to put into words.”

Freshman forward Rachel Holden picked up an insurance goal in the 57th minute, her team-leading 12th of the year. Trying to kick a cross pass at an angle nearly parallel to the net, the ball caught the wind and found its way past the goalkeeper.

“It was intended to be a cross, but it went towards the goal, so it worked,” Holden said.

Although UTEP (12-6-1, 6-3-1) would add a late goal in the 83rd minute by junior midfielder German Mackenzie, the Mean Green defense held on for its fifth conference victory of the year.

Now headed into the conference tournament, UNT’s depth will be tested as Holden and another starting forward, senior Vanessa Ibewuike, will not play. Holden received a red card in the 66th minute which automatically bans her from the following game, while Ibewuike received a yellow card in the 53rd minute that was her fifth of the season, also resulting in a one-game ban.

“We have a lot of depth on this team and I think we’ll be OK,” head coach John Hedlund said. “Those are great players, but we’re going to have to step it up and get that first game and then they can join in on Friday.”

Since the team received a bye in the first round, UNT will play next Wednesday in Houston. The team’s opponent will be decided by games around the conference on Thursday night.

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