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Mean Green soccer wins third straight regular season C-USA title

Mean Green soccer wins third straight regular season C-USA title

North Texas celebrates after the team wins its third straight Conference USA title. Matthew Brune

Mean Green soccer wins third straight regular season C-USA title
October 30
17:26 2016

The PA announcer counted down from 10. As the clock wound down, the reserves began to walk on the field, unsure of how to celebrate.

On one hand, this is what they have worked for since the end of last year when they lost seven key seniors. On the other, they weren’t satisfied because they are not finished.

“Five…Four…Three…Two…One.”

The horn blew. They had done it.

The Mean Green defeated Louisiana Tech University 3-1 Sunday afternoon. The win earned North Texas (14-4-1, 9-1) its third consecutive Conference USA regular season – a feat that has never been accomplished in Mean Green history.

The players hugged, the fans rejoiced and pictures were taken. This is the first time since 2006 North Texas has won nine conference games – and they capped the historic season with yet another resilient win.

“[This game] was a little bit more emotional with it being my last game,” senior midfielder Marchelle Davis said. “But at the end of the day, you have to play it like it’s any other game.”

Fourteen minutes into the match, Davis found fellow senior Hailey Sutton in the box for the first goal of the game.

Fifteen minutes later, Louisiana Tech (14-5-1, 6-4) knotted the game at one with a long free kick that was driven into the bottom left corner.

Then the game got interesting.

In the 33rd minute, junior defender Tori Phillips was fouled. In retaliation, Phillips appeared to have kicked the defender. As a result, Phillips was given an immediate red card and was sent off, which shocked the North Texas side.

Phillips will also have to sit out Wednesday’s first round C-USA tournament game.

“I can’t remember the last time we played a man down,” head coach John Hedlund said. “But we just had to change our formation, and it worked out. We can’t lose our head, especially going into next week.”

While it initially hurt the Mean Green playing 10 on 11, the senior leaders on this team once again came up big. Davis controlled a ball at the top of the box and found sophomore midfielder Sabrina Munguia cutting towards goal. Sabrina was taken out from behind and awarded a penalty kick.

Davis stepped up and scored from the spot to put the team up 2-1 before the half.

The icing on the cake came in the 82nd minute when Davis sent in a cross from a corner that fellow senior forward Rachel Holden headed into the goal.

“We had to go for it,” Hedlund said. “We didn’t really want to share this [title]. The seniors and the captains wanted it that way so I had to extend their minutes even with a man down.”

With the regular season C-USA title in hand, the team’s attention now turns towards Old Dominion University, who they will face on Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina in the first round of the conference tournament.

For the eighth time in Hedlund’s career, his team sits atop the regular season final standings. Now he looks to seal a return to the NCAA tournament by this time next week, and he knows what it will require.

“To have success in a tournament, it comes down to defense and finishing your opportunities,” Hedlund said. “If we can do that then we can make a run like we did last year.”

In a game where the five seniors numbers were painted on and spread across the field, there we some memorable moments.

But they refuse to take their eyes off the ultimate goal.

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” senior midfielder Anna Flobeck said. “We know that we’re the best team in Conference USA, and we just need to play with that confidence.”

Next up: The Mean Green travel to Charlotte to take on Old Dominion in the first round of the C-USA tournament at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Featured Image: North Texas celebrates after the team wins its third straight Conference USA title. Matthew Brune

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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