Soccer captures highest ranking in history

Soccer captures highest ranking in history

Soccer captures highest ranking in history
October 11
00:21 2018

After another victory at home, the Mean Green women’s soccer team is nearing its 10-year mark without losing a game at home. The streak started in October of the 2008 season.

North Texas is now No. 25 in the NCAA rankings — the highest ranking ever attained in school history. The next Conference USA team in the rankings list can be found 43 spots down, with Florida Atlantic University at No. 68.

Sunday’s shutout performance against the University of Alabama at Birmingham marks five consecutive games without giving up a score. Only giving up three total goals on the season, the Mean Green are ranked No. 2 in the nation in the goals-against average category. North Texas has scored 25 goals through the 11 games, averaging 2.27 goals per game, and looks to use the strong defense to continue to find success.

“It’s a scary stat for other teams coming in,” senior midfielder Lauryn Bruffet said. “Knowing we don’t give up goals is exciting.”

The Mean Green are 9-1-1 with five games to go. Due to inclement weather, three of the scheduled games had to be canceled. The only loss came on Aug. 28 against No. 5 Santa Clara University by a 1-0 score.

“[The season] is going really well despite the cancellations,” junior defender Dominque James said. “This year is one of our better teams. We have only allowed three goals, and our forwards are capitalizing on their chances. There is no other team in our conference who is at our level right now.”

Although the Mean Green have a ranking higher than ever before, this is not the first time head coach John Hedlund and his team have had a chance to advance into the NCAA Division I women’s soccer tournament. Since 2010 the team has reached the tournament on two other occasions: In 2012, North Texas fell to Texas Tech in the first round with a 2-0 score. Most recently in 2017, the Mean Green failed to advance past the first round, falling to the University of Texas 4-0.

Hedlund’s aggressive style of play — attacking teams and always “going at them” — is what he credits the teams success to.

Hedlund admits in order for his game plan to work he needs the right playersthat fit in his scheme, and the team he has now is exactly that.

“This is a special team right now,” Hedlund said. “We have to stay injury free and see how far we can get this year.”

The remaining teams on the Mean Green’s schedule have a combined record of 22-38-7. The five teams remaining are Western Kentucky, Marshall, Florida Atlantic, Florida International and Old Dominion. Two of the remaining five games will be played at home in Denton.

The biggest challenge they appear to face comes in the form of Florida Atlantic. Currently on a six-game winning streak and 5-0 in conference play, they will look to derail the Mean Green’s season on Oct. 19.

Team confidence and morale are high, and having one of the best defenses in the nation to back it up allows for excitement to build. The team, however, is not losing focus as it moves to the challenges ahead.

“We go game-by-game — we never overlook anybody,” junior defender Madeline Guderian said. “Our chemistry is getting better each game. We play really well together, and it is all coming together.”

North Texas will continue their season against Western Kentucky at 6:00 p.m. on Oct. 12 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Featured Image: The teams raise their hands in celebration of their win against the Rice Owls on Friday night. Jessika Hardy

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Josue Hernandez

Josue Hernandez

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