North Texas Daily

RECAP: Soccer secures second seed after a last-minute goal on senior night

RECAP: Soccer secures second seed after a last-minute goal on senior night

RECAP: Soccer secures second seed after a last-minute goal on senior night
October 31
03:13 2022

Soccer secured the second seed in the Conference USA championship tournament with a 2-1 win over Louisiana Tech University at home.

North Texas (11-5-2, 7-2-1 C-USA) came into Saturday night’s game in third place in the C-USA standings. The Mean Green trailed Rice University and the University of Alabama-Birmingham, with Louisiana Tech (7-8-3, 5-3-2 C-USA) in fourth place.

“I mean, obviously, [moving in the standings is] something we knew going in and it was a motivator to get us a win,” senior forward Madison Drenowatz said. “But we also did not want it to affect us during the game and force us into unnecessary pressure.”

The Lady Techsters set North Texas back early with a sixth-minute goal from junior forward Kalli Matlock. North Texas took control after the Lady Techsters’ goal and put pressure on its defense with 13 shots in the first period, forcing Sophomore Sydnee Korchak into three saves. Despite the aggression from the Mean Green, the team trailed 0-1 after the first period.

North Texas remained aggressive coming into the second period, with senior forward Allie Byrd and graduate forward Olivia Klein getting early shots on the goal in the first 10 minutes. North Texas found the back of the net on a corner kick that Drenowatz headed past the keeper to tie the game at 1-1 in the 64th minute.

“The ball that Grace [Dennis] played in came right past the back post, which was my spot — I just went up and tried to get a head on it, and fortunately it went into the back of the net,” Drenowatz said.

With the Drenowatz goal, the Mean Green needed to hold defensively, which would keep the team at the third seed going into the tournament. The Mean Green outshot the Lady Techsters eight to two and forced Matlock into six more saves.

With 45 seconds left in the game, Byrd found the back right corner of the net on an assist from Drenowatz to put the Mean Green up 2-1. Byrd, who started the season off the bench due to a knee injury, sealed the victory and second seed for North Texas on senior night.

“For me, [the goal] gave me the confidence [to say] that I am the player that I was in the past two years,” Byrd said. “After the injury, it was hard coming back and getting back on my feet and getting into the groove of things, and showing myself [that] now late in the season, because this is when it really matters.”

With the win over Louisiana Tech and the Alabama-Birmingham tie, North Texas celebrated the news of getting the second seed in a huddle at centerfield after the game. The Mean Green also holds C-USA’s current longest winning streak heading into the tournament with four-straight wins under their belt.

“The fact that we can win a game within the last two minutes or so just shows us that we are capable of anything, and our confidence is always very high,” Klein said. “That just goes to show that we didn’t lose any doubt within ourselves, and we kept fighting until the end. I know we’re going to get the ring this year.”

For its first-round match, soccer faces off against seventh seed Western Kentucky University on Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Image Source: Mean Green Sports

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Paul Witwer

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