North Texas Daily

Newell and Diaz each score first goals of 2018 season in 2-0 win over UAB

Newell and Diaz each score first goals of 2018 season in 2-0 win over UAB

Newell and Diaz each score first goals of 2018 season in 2-0 win over UAB
October 08
19:49 2018

The Mean Green (9-1-1, 4-0 Conference USA) won their seventh straight match with a victory over Alabama-Birmingham (6-5-1, 3-2 C-USA) on Sunday afternoon.

After a first half that consisted of just one shot on goal between both teams – a North Texas failed attempt at a penalty kick – the Mean Green found their offensive rhythm when junior Natalie Newell and sophomore Ariel Diaz each scored their first goal of the 2018 season.

Diaz led the team in goals for most of last season as a freshman but has had a difficult time finding the back of the net so far this season. She said that this goal threw the monkey off of her back and she is looking to jumpstart the rest of her season offensively.

“I’m speechless,” Diaz said. “I’m very proud of the effort I put in today and to show the potential that I have within myself. I just needed that one goal to push myself and I am very excited to see how far my team and I go.”

The two goals from Newell and Diaz – which came in the 58′ and 60′ – were backed up by a fierce Mean Green defense. Coming into the weekend, North Texas’ goals-against average of .325 is tied for No. 4 in the country. The Mean Green have also shut out their last five opponents – the most since 2015 – and haven’t given up a goal in 518 minutes and nine seconds.

The defense is led by senior defenders Dominique James, Carissa Sanders and freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Brann. Sanders is the captain for this 2018 team and she said the defense is playing so well because of the communication and athleticism this North Texas team has.

“Our defense works together and communicates very well,” Sanders said. “I’ve worked with Dom since we got here, and I think we shift well and have a good chemistry.”

This was a big weekend for North Texas soccer. They played two quality Conference USA teams in Rice and UAB, and head coach John Hedlund said that he is proud of his team for competing hard all weekend long to improve to 4-0 in conference play.

“I’m just really proud of our team because those are two of the better teams in the conference and we got shutouts in both games,” Hedlund said. “I knew this was going to be our toughest weekend because we had to turn around and play a rested UAB team after playing extremely hard against Rice. We played like warriors out there this weekend.”

After playing three consecutive games at home, the Mean Green will hit the road next weekend when they take on Western Kentucky University on Friday and Marshall University on Sunday.

“Road games are hard to win in this conference,” Hedlund said. “We need to take it one game at a time.”

If North Texas takes care of business next weekend, they will return home on Oct. 19 to play Florida Atlantic (5-0 C-USA) in what could be the deciding factor for the regular season conference championship.

“We’re sitting right where we need to be,” Hedlund said. “We’re hoping it comes down to the FAU game when they come down here.”

Featured Image: Ariel Diaz (left) and Kelsey Brann (right) celebrate their win against Rice on Friday night. Jessika Hardy

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Bronte Hermesmeyer

Bronte Hermesmeyer

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