North Texas Daily

UNT soccer prepares for FIU in the Conference USA tournament

UNT soccer prepares for FIU in the Conference USA tournament

UNT soccer prepares for FIU in the Conference USA tournament
November 06
10:56 2013

Faye Darku / Intern Writer

After beating the University of Texas at El Paso in the season finale on Thursday, the Mean Green soccer team clinched the No. 2 seed and a first round bye in the Conference USA tournament. The team heads to Houston to take on Florida International University on Wednesday.

“Having a first round bye definitely helped our team to nurse some injuries and make sure we’re really ready to play,” senior forward Vanessa Ibewuike said. “It helps us focus on what we need to fix as a team.”

Last year, the Mean Green won the Sun Belt tournament to make it to the NCAA tournament. Although the team is in a new conference this season, head coach John Hedlund said he still expects his team to play its best.

“It’s always the same to me when you go into the conference tournament, because you have to play your best soccer,” he said. “Even in the Sun Belt, we always had a tough first round, so if you can get through that first game you get some momentum and have a great chance to win it.”

FIU finished their season with a 5-5 record in Conference USA and did not play UNT this season. The two teams met twice last season – a 1-1 tie in the regular season and a 1-0 UNT victory in the Sun Belt Tournament.

“We know their system, but it’s different players and although we didn’t get to see them play this year, we still understand what they like to play and they know the same about us,” Hedlund said.

Even with the game in Houston, the soccer team is still hoping for a decent number of fans to be there for the team’s most important game of the year.

“I’m sure a lot more people will be there than a regular game,” freshman forward Rachel Holden said. “A lot of the players’ families travel really well.”

Holden was named the Conference USA Offensive and Freshmen Player of the Year for her 13 goals this season – including the game-winning goal against UTEP on Thursday.

The game begins at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, hosted by Rice University in Houston.

Feature photo: Senior defender Kelsey Hodges takes control of the ball during a home game against University of Texas at El Paso on Thursday. Photo by Harris Buchanan / Staff Photographer 

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