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Playoff seeding for soccer team depends on result of WKU’s final game

Playoff seeding for soccer team depends on result of WKU’s final game

October 22
22:29 2012

Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer

The Western Kentucky soccer team now controls the fate of the Mean Green women’s soccer team’s regular season championship hopes.

The Hilltoppers stunned UNT 2-0 Sunday in the Mean Green’s final regular season game. While UNT remains in first place of the conference, Middle Tennessee could steal the championship with a win in its showdown with Western Kentucky on Friday.

“Playing a game on Thursday, having to travel and running up against a well-rested Western Kentucky team today finally took its toll on the girls,” head coach John Hedlund said.

After the team’s 3-2 win over Middle Tennessee on Oct. 18, junior defender Tori Adamé said the Mean Green might have overlooked WKU.

“I think coming off of that big win against Middle, we came in a little too confident,” she said. “We couldn’t connect very well. Offensively as a team we couldn’t produce what we usually do. It should have been an easy win.”

Photo by : James Coreas

While championship hopes for the team are still alive, Hedlund said the team couldn’t be seeded any lower than second in the conference tournament that starts on Oct. 31.

UNT must now become the biggest WKU fans. If Western Kentucky wins or ties against MTSU, the Mean Green will repeat as Sun Belt champions.

“It is really weird, we’re all bitter that they beat us,” Adamé said. “But now we have to turn around and cheer for them so they can win.”

On the year, WKU is 2-2-1 on road games compared to the 6-2-1 record it has at home, but Hedlund said anything is possible in the matchup between the Hilltoppers and MTSU.

“We’ll just have to see how everything plays out, but Western Kentucky is a very balanced team that can beat anyone in or conference,” Hedlund said.

Both goals for WKU came in the first half. The first score was 22 minutes into the game and the second with three minutes remaining in the half.

Much like the Mean Green, WKU was undefeated at home throughout conference play.

While UNT averages 22 shots per game, the WKU defense held the Mean Green to just seven. Western Kentucky’s defense has been its strong suit, leading the conference in a .44 goals allowed per game average and four goals allowed in the last nine games.

“It was a rough game for everyone,” junior defender Allison Guderian said.  “Props to Western’s defense for shutting down our offense. We need to put it behind us and focus on the conference tournament.”

This is the Hilltopper’s second straight upset over the Mean Green. Last year, UNT was eliminated by Western Kentucky during the Sun Belt Conference tournament. After the game was scoreless in regulation and overtime, WKU advanced by winning 4-3 on penalty kicks.

While it may be advantageous to avoid WKU, Guderian hopes the team faces the Hilltoppers in the Sun Belt Tournament.

“We’d love to play Western again to show them how we can really play when we play well as a team,” Guderian said.

For now, UNT must wait to see how Friday’s game unfolds. The team’s fate is now out of its own feet.

The quarterfinals and the rest of the playoffs will take place in Mobile, Ala.

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