North Texas Daily

Soccer’s first spring game ends in draw against Baylor

Soccer’s first spring game ends in draw against Baylor

March 24
18:09 2018

North Texas opened up its spring series of games with a 0-0 tie against Baylor University at home. In their first game since being eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament last November, the Mean Green were happy to pull away with a tie with the Bears who made the Elite Eight last season.

At first the Mean Green were a step slow offensively, with Baylor possessing the ball for much of regulation, but in the extra time session, the Mean Green forced the issue offensively.

With their typical 4-3-3 formation, the Mean Green went on a tear offensively in extra time and ended up out shooting the Lady Bears 14-13 for the game.

Incoming transfer Kelsey Brann stopped all 13 shots against her and head coach John Hedlund was impressed with how his new goalkeeper played.

“She did really well, she was calm back there and kept us in the game,” Hedlund said. “She gobbled up the soft ones, which we need, and her punts were good. That is exactly what we need.”

Brann transferred from Tulsa alongside Ansley Bunger from Arkansas in late January.

“The new kids played well, Ansley came in and gobbled up some minutes up front and played her some in the defensive mid spot and she played well,” Hedlund said. “There were some players we did not give much time to last fall that we got in there that played well. We just need to work on our fitness.”

Up front, the Mean Green put pressure on the Lady Bears back line late in the game. Led by junior Aaliyah Nolan, the Mean Green created several scoring opportunities, but could not convert them.

“I feel we had them for most of the game, we just have to put away our chances,” Nolan said. “We were on top of them most of the game.”

Defensively, the Mean Green were on their heals through the first two halves, but the stingy defense from last season returned in extra time. Last season, the Mean Green allowed 1.2 goals per game and pitched 11 shutouts in 22 games.

The defense is bringing back all four starters from last season and hopes to continue its dominance over their opponents. Junior team captain Dominique James was content with the defense’s play versus an elite Lady Bears squad.

“I think the defense played really well, we’ve been together since last season so we are just working on getting back to our roots and playing together,” James said. “I think our defense needs to work on communication and connecting better with the midfield.”

Next up: The Mean Green continue their spring schedule against Midwestern State at 2 p.m. on April 7.

Featured image: Sophomore Brittnye Lawson (6) kicks the ball down the field during the first half against UTSA. Madison Gore

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Matthew Berger

Matthew Berger

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