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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Soccer looking to get back into the win column this weekend

Article Originally Published by Paul Witwer on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Paul Witwer on North Texas Daily

The soccer team is set to face Stephen F. Austin University in Denton on Friday at 7 p.m. and Abilene Christian University in Abilene on Sunday at 1 p.m. The team is looking for a bounce-back game Friday at home after an unsatisfactory past weekend.

“I think we learned a lot from Baylor,” junior defender Quincy Sheppard said. “We didn’t capitalize on things that we should have in the game, but we’re a different team than what was on the field.”

The Mean Green (3-1-2) faced two Big-12 opponents in the University of Baylor (3-2-1) and the University of Oklahoma this past week. The team fell to Baylor 0-2 on Thursday and tied with Oklahoma in Norman 1-1 on Sunday. Senior and team captain Olivia Klein, who missed the game against Baylor, echoed Sheppard’s sentiments.

“[Against Baylor] that wasn’t UNT soccer just like John [Hedlund] says,” Klein said. “With key players back in, we will be able to utilize their strengths on the field.”

With a healthier roster, the Mean Green are first facing off against SFA (1-3-1), who is coming off a 1-6 road loss to the University of Arkansas (2-2) on Monday, and have yet to win an away game. However, for Klein and the rest of the team, the goal for each game remains the same.

“I think every game our big goal is not getting any goals scored against [us] and getting two [goals] before the half,” Klein said.

Abilene Christian (1-3), another team in the Western Athletic Conference, is coming off a 0-1 defeat to Texas State University (2-2-1) and has not won a home game yet this season. Still, junior forward Allie Byrd will not let the team take their opponents lightly.

“The biggest thing that we focus on that we have struggled with in the past is never underestimating who we play,” Byrd said. “Regardless of their record, regardless of what they did in the past, [we] just go out every game [like we] do against a bigger opponent.”

Going into Friday’s game, the soccer team’s season scoring totals split between half’s are seven goals scored and four goals scored against in the first half. However, in the second half of the games, the team scored eight goals and only gave up one goal. Klein attributed the team’s resurgence to finding their rhythm in the second half of games.

“I think [the] heat has a component, Klein said. “So when we come out, definitely at home, for the second half, we have a lot more energy, we’re confident [and] we’re settled down.”

Despite the team settling down, scoring more and averaging nearly 20 shots per game, the energy led to 18 offsides penalties in their first six games. Sheppard attributes those calls to their aggressive playstyle.

“Every single forward we have on the team has a lot of speed,” Shepard said. “We’re just aggressive to go to the goal, with a lot of speed up top, and we want to utilize that [and] sometimes that catches offsides.”

The aggressive playstyle led to 15 goals on the season with 119 shot attempts, leading to an average of 2.5 goals per game. With conference games coming up next week, Klein spoke about the team’s confidence level going into both games this weekend.

“High,” Klein said. “I mean going into it [with] one loss [and] two ties, I mean we have all the confidence we’re going to go and win these next few games.”

Image source Twitter

Source: North Texas Daily

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