Penalty kick lifts Mean Green over UTEP in overtime

Penalty kick lifts Mean Green over UTEP in overtime

October 04
12:50 2014

Scott Sidway / Staff Writer

The Mean Green soccer team began its five game road trip by defeating the University of Texas-El Paso 1-0 in overtime on Friday night.

Both teams were deadlocked throughout regulation, but junior forward Karla Pineda secured the win for North Texas (9-3, 3-0) on a penalty kick in the fourth minute of overtime.

“I was nervous at first, being in overtime. Anyone would be nervous,” Pineda said. “I knew I just needed to put it in. We really wanted to get this win for John [Hedlund].”

Pineda said that the Mean Green rallied for head coach John Hedlund because he was ejected in the 75th minute. Hedlund was issued a red card for stepping onto the field to argue a foul call that resulted in a penalty kick for UTEP (7-5-1, 1-2).

The match was physical from beginning to end and consisted of 30 combined fouls and only 16 shots between both teams. Junior defender Tess Graham said that the team knew the game would be tough.

“We knew going into it that they were a physical team. It was in the scouting report,” Graham said. “So we just had to match up with them because if we get knocked off the ball, then we’ve got to be physical right back.”

The North Texas defense responded to UTEP’s physical play and recorded their eighth shutout of the season, moving junior goalkeeper Jackie Kerestine within two games of the school’s single season shutout record.

The Mean Green has now won their first three conference games of the season and has registered nine points in the C-USA standings. Friday’s win was the team’s first road conference win of the season, and Hedlund said he’s proud of how his players and coaches responded in such a hostile environment.

“It’s a tough place to play, but to come in here and get the win was really huge,” Hedlund said.  “It was a great team effort. I was really proud of my team and my coaching staff to get the win.”

The team will continue its road trip on Sunday when they face the University of Texas-San Antonio at 1 p.m.

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