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North Texas soccer claims share of C-USA title with win over FIU

North Texas soccer claims share of C-USA title with win over FIU

North Texas junior midfielder Tori Phillips (24) runs and dribbles the ball away form an Abilene Christian defender during a game on August 28. Dylan Nadwodny

North Texas soccer claims share of C-USA title with win over FIU
October 28
19:05 2016

North Texas soccer still has one game to play, but the Mean Green (13-4-1, 8-1-0) has already clinched at least a share of the 2016 Conference USA regular season title.

North Texas picked up a 3-2 win over Florida International University Friday afternoon after the match was pushed back a day due to heavy rain in Florida.

With the win, the Mean Green now has a chance to repeat as outright regular season conference champions with a draw against Louisiana Tech University at home on Sunday. North Texas also clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming C-USA tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The winning goal of the afternoon was scored by sophomore forward Lauren Bruffett in the 80th minute after she squeezed a header past the Golden Panthers (3-10-3, 2-5-2) keeper.

It was Bruffett’s third goal of the year.

The first half was a monotonous affair as both teams tried to settle into the wet conditions. The pitch was still soaked from heavy rain Thursday night.

Both sides got settled around the 30th minute, as a flurry of goals capped off the first half. North Texas started the goal scoring when senior Anna Flobeck netted her fourth of the season off a headed attempt from junior midfielder Tori Phillips to make it 1-0.

North Texas senior forward Rachel Holden (16) dribbles just inside the box against Old Dominion on October 23. Dylan Nadwodny

North Texas senior forward Rachel Holden (16) dribbles just inside the box against Old Dominion on October 23. Dylan Nadwodny

The Mean Green doubled its lead five minutes later when junior forward Cat Sebazco was the beneficiary of a deflection that found its way into the back of the net from 20 yards out to make the score 2-0.

But the Golden Panthers cut that lead in half just two minutes later when freshman forward Bria Williams, from Lewisville, Texas, nudged a ball home that skimmed across the face of goal to make it 2-1 before intermission.

North Texas forced a save from FIU senior keeper Sophia Trujillo to begin the second half, but she parried it away. The senior was called upon again when the Flobeck-Phillips combo almost connected once more, but Trujillo collected the attempt. She finished with three saves.

The Mean Green’s freshman keeper Miranda Schoening did her part on the other end. FIU had a golden opportunity to equalize in the 74th minute, but Williams’ header was corralled by Schoening.

The dam finally broke when another Texas product hurt the Mean Green, as junior midfielder and Arlington native Courtney Phillips smashed home her first goal of the season to tie the game at two.

But North Texas had one final answer in the 80th minute when Bruffett headed the ball home after a scramble in front to put the Mean Green up 3-2. A Phillips corner set up the goal despite her not getting the assist in the box score.

The Mean Green now return to Denton to face Louisiana Tech, needing just a draw to clinch the title outright. The Mean Green hasn’t lost in Denton in eight years. The match kicks-off at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Featured Image: North Texas junior midfielder Tori Phillips (24) runs and dribbles the ball away form an Abilene Christian defender during a game on August 28. Dylan Nadwodny

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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