For the North Texas soccer team (N0. 2) their match with Texas-El Paso (No.7) began at 9:15 p.m, over two hours from the original start time due to weather delays from the near by lightening strikes. Despite the rain, the Mean Green were able to advance past the Miners in a 3-1 win.
Considering the game ended at around 12:30 a.m, the Mean Green players were notified after the match that they were excused from classes the following day. Head coach John Hedlund attested that the downpour of rain and the two 30 minute weather delays in the second half had a significant impact on the game.
“Stopping and going, stopping and going and playing at a crazy hour, it was like that for both teams and we just had to get through it,” Hedlund said. “[Texas-El Paso] is a very good team, they’re physical and they’ve got speed, they were not your normal seventh seed.”
North Texas had not faced the Miners this season, going up against them in the tournament was a challenge in it of itself. Texas-El Paso was 5-4-1 in conference this season and 10-7-3 overall.
“We didn’t know too much about them,” Hedlund said. “You can watch film but until you actually play a team you don’t really get that full exposure of them but I thought they were very good. Anytime you have two Texas teams playing the intensity is even more out there and it becomes physical.”
Freshman midfielder Desiree Ramirez scored her second goal of the season just before the conclusion of the first half. It wasn’t until the over extended second half where junior forward Berklee Peters pushed her season’s goal count to 13 as she scored the final two goals for North Texas. Peters came close to scoring a third goal but the shot attempt bounced off the side bar and did not hit the back of the net.
“After the second one, I was just so shocked,” Peters said. “I’ve gone a couple games without getting a goal so it was good for me to get the first one, especially the second one and then I almost had a third one and it hit the post.”
A match of this nature came with certain protocols that had to be resurfaced such as the 70 minute rule. Once the match had resumed play at around 11:47 p.m., the game was at the 50 minute mark. If the match had gone up to or past the 70 minute mark and there was another weather delay, the C-USA officiators would have ceased play given the win to the team with the winning score. If they were tied they would have had a rematch the following day.
“We were just in the locker room just staying focused,” junior defender Brooke Lampe said. “We just determined and we were like ‘we got to freaking finish this game because we definitely don’t want to come up here tomorrow and play and restart. So whenever we came out here we’re just like ‘all right lets get some more goals in the back of the net and call it a day.”
North Texas has one day of rest before returning to their home stadium to take on Rice, who holds the third seed in the tournament. The Mean Green hope to get their shots in the goal this time around as their regular season finale ended in a draw on Rice’s home turf.
“We had a lot of opportunities to score [against Rice] so I think we’re ready for the rematch,” Lampe said. “We hit the post so many times so this time I think we’re definitely going to find the net. We’re excited to play because that’s our rival and we played them played them last year, first round and we came out on top. Especially being at home with good weather and a good night we plan on doing that again.”
Featured Image: Sophomore forward Olivia Klein sprints with the ball with a UTEP player attempting to gain control. The wet field resulted in both players sliding to the ground and Klein losing possession of the ball. Image by Grace Davis