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Mean Green soccer hands Old Dominion first loss of the season in conference opener


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North Texas (6-3, 1-0 Conference USA) handed Old Dominion (6-1-1, 0-1 C-USA) their first loss of the season by a score of 1-0. Junior forward Berklee Peters’ scored the lone goal of the night, making  her seventh goal on the season, eclipsing her single-season career-high (6). The Mean Green’s win over Old Dominion is the first win against the Monarchs since 2016. The Mean Green have now achieved an NCAA-record 50 consecutive home conference matches wins.

“It felt good [winning against Old Dominion],” head coach John Hedlund said. “The first [conference win] is always the toughest and [Old Dominion] is a good team. They’re well organized  but I thought throughout the game we had the better of the play.”

Hedlund complimented the defense after holding Old Dominion to two shots on goal (seven total). The Monarchs came into this game with 21 total goals, 14.6 shots per game and 6.7 shots on goal per game.

“Defensively we were extremely sharp all night,” Hedlund said.

The Mean Green were able to enjoy their success on defense without the services of freshman defender Taylor Hunter, who didn’t register any playing time against the Monarchs.

“I just thought I needed to go with a little more of a veteran group,” Hedlund said. “She’s still a big part of what we do and more than anything it was the matchups that I was trying to defend against and nothing more than that.”

North Texas’ rivalry with Old Dominion was a pivotal motivators for the Mean Green coming into this game. For some of the Mean Green soccer players, tonight was their first game against conference rival Old Dominion. Freshman forward Mackenzie Stricklin, who helped serve as a bench role, mentioned the importance of keeping the 50-game unbeaten streak alive.

“It’s our first game,” Stricklin said. “We didn’t want to lose this game because we’re going for our 50th home win game and as a freshman, I think we stepped up. It was a big deal for us and we just wanted to just win the game.”

For Peters’, tonight’s win was something that left the junior forward in awe after scoring her seventh goal on the season to establish a new season-high.

“I feel amazing,” Peters said. “I can’t believe I’ve already had six before conference even started. My confidence is way up and it helps me a lot that I have my teams support and my coaches support.”

The Keller, Texas native is aiming to pass former North Texas forward Aaliyah Nolan’s single-season goal total (11) by the end of the season. Peters’ has scored four goals in the last three games — including Old Dominion — with two scores in their win against Incarnate Word.

“I’m really trying to strive and get more than 11, so hopefully I get past that,” Peters said.

After capturing a win against an undefeated Old Dominion, Peters felt a sense of relief after beating the Monarchs for the first time in her career. She also brought up the fact that the rest of the North Texas’ conference games are going to be a fight as they pursue their sixth consecutive conference championship.

“It feels amazing,” Peters’ said. “Ever since I’ve been here it’s been about trying to beat [Old Dominion]. They’ve really been tough with us. I feel like this whole conference is going to be tough because they want to beat us and not want us to get that next ring. But I feel like we can hold all of these teams.”

UP NEXT: North Texas will look to defend their home field once more when they host Southern Mississippi (5-3) on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7:oo p.m.

Featured Image: Junior forward Berklee Peters out runs Old Dominion defenders on Sept. 20, 2019. Image by Zachary Thomas

Article Originally Published by Matthew Suarez on North Texas Daily

Source: North Texas Daily

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