North Texas Daily

UNT hosts first LIVESTRONG game against rival

UNT hosts first LIVESTRONG game against rival

September 16
21:43 2010

By Sean Gorman / Senior Staff Writer –

A year removed from her brother’s recovery from brain cancer, UNT senior goalkeeper Mandy Hall has used her skills as a soccer player to honor his struggle.

The team captain helped organize the first ever Livestrong Game, happening tonight when UNT hosts SMU, where the team will don yellow jerseys and sell T-shirts and raffle tickets with all profits going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The foundation, also known as LIVESTRONG, was founded by cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong in 1997.

“I’m excited for this game for a handful of reasons,” Hall said. “Not only is it a big game for the team, but it’s a chance for me to honor my brother and everything he has been through.”

Playing in its final non-conference game of the season, the Mean Green (5-2-1) faces a great challenge in battling a Mustangs (4-2-1) team that has experienced roster turnover since last season.

“They’re a completely different team from last year, but they had a great freshman class with players that competed on the Junior National Team last year,” head coach John Hedlund said. “A win could really give us some momentum before conference play and boost our [Ratings Percentage Index] as well.”

Hedlund plans to implement an offensive approach against the eighth-ranked team in the NCAA Central Region, using freshman midfielder Kelsey Hodges as an additional third forward with five midfielders and two defenders in the back.

“That type of style gives us the best chance to win,” Hedlund said. “We’re going to try and attack them early on and make adjustments if we need to as the game develops.”

UNT will face one of the best defenses it will see all season, as the Mustangs have recorded as many shutouts as goals they have allowed with five in their first seven games.

“This is a game we’re all looking forward to because it will be such a challenge,” Hodges said. “Scoring on them will not be easy, so we need to make sure we take advantage of every chance we get.”

Expecting a big turnout when they come to UNT, the Mustangs will focus on keeping possession of the ball and making smart passes while handling the crowd.

“The biggest part of the strategy for us is dealing with the big environment that we will be facing,” Mustangs head coach Brent Erwin said. “UNT has had a great year so far and we need to try to control the tempo and keep them in check.”

The Mustangs own a 12-3-3 all time record over UNT, including a win against the Mean Green last season.

While Hall’s .34 goals against average is a testament to her work on the field, much of her time has been spent coordinating the event as well.

In an effort to help her brother with life after cancer, Hall spent time contacting the foundation and using Facebook and banners to promote the event.

“LIVESTRONG really is a great organization because it also helps former cancer patients in any way it can,” Hall said. “I knew hosting this type of event could make a difference. My hope is that we can get a huge crowd and make a big contribution to the foundation.”

The game will begin at 7 p.m., with sales of shirts and raffle tickets available all night and donations being accepted as well.

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