Article Originally Published by Matthew Suarez on North Texas Daily
Article Originally Published by on North Texas Daily
The North Texas soccer team (5-3) has had ups and downs through their stretch of eight non-conference games to begin the season. Nevertheless, the Mean Green will use these games as catalysts to enhance what needs to be fixed and magnify their strengths. They got off to a 3-0 start with wins against Northwestern State (3-5), Texas Southern (1-6) and Houston Baptist (1-6) in which they outscored their opponents 14-1 and held their first two opponents to zero shot attempts.
After starting undefeated, the Mean Green suffered two losses against Texas Tech (7-1) and No. 24 Memphis (7-1). They were outscored 5-0 through those two games and saw their shot attempts decrease. However, despite allowing Memphis to score one goal, their match against the Tigers went down to the wire.
“I feel like the non-conference really did help our team going into conference,” junior forward Berklee Peters said. “We have a lot of new players and freshmen and they now know what to expect going into it. So they really need work on being more physical and I feel like they have been doing that but I think it really has helped us especially with the new freshmen and transfers.”
North Texas finished it’s non-conference schedule with wins against Incarnate Word (1-6) and Grambling State (3-4-1) and a 3-1 loss against Alabama (5-2-1) in Tuscaloosa.
“I think what’s prepared us is playing a Big 12 school and [Alabama] and a ranked team,” junior forward Brooke Lampe said. “I think thats basically getting ready to fight and know how to play against really strong teams and players. I think there’s going to be some strong teams [in conference] but I don’t think they’re going to be as strong as the other teams we’ve played. It teaches up all of our newcomers and transfers about how tough it’s going to be in conference so it kind of toughens us up before heading to conference.”
After the Alabama game, Peters’ lone goal tied her career high (6) for most goals in a season. Despite already matching their loss total from 2018, the women’s soccer team saw things they could do to help improve themselves as a team heading into Conference USA play.
“I think it’s very helpful,” senior defender Natalie Newell said. “I mean some were Power 5 schools with very fast pace and it really just helps show what we need to work on going into conference along with what we can fix and what our strengths are.”
North Texas’ only 2018 conference loss came at the hands of Old Dominion after losing 4-0 on the Monarchs’ home turf. They also lost 3-1 to Old Dominion the season previous (2016-17). However this year, the Mean Green will host the Monarchs for the first time in two years. The Mean Green currently hold a 23-0 unbeaten streak at home and a win against Old Dominion would tie their program record.
“We’re prepared for it, since we kind of don’t play our best against [Old Dominion],” Peters said. “It’s the first [conference] game, I feel like we’re more prepared and want to get that win a lot more.”
Given North Texas’ history of underachieving against Old Dominion, it’s become something of a rivalry, Peters said. One of the things Peters’ stressed was getting a team that consists of a large number of freshman to understand the rivalry between the Mean Green and the Monarchs.
“I know that the freshmen don’t really understand that’s how our rivalry with [Old Dominion] is because we have lost to them,” Peters said. “We need to tell [the freshmen] everything about [Old Dominion] and just get the win by the end of this.”
North Texas hasn’t lost a home conference match since 2008, putting even larger historical significance on the matchup with Old Dominion.
“We’re really excited for that game because we don’t want to lose that streak,” Newell said. “We want to go into conference 1-0 so I think everyone is fired up and ready to go.”
The Mean Green will face the Monarchs on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at the new Soccer and Track & Field Stadium in Denton.
“We’re just excited for Old Dominion and really hope that we have the school on our back and supporting us all the way [to] start off strong with a win,” Lampe said.
Featured Image: Senior defensive back Madeline Guderian, rushes up the sidelines looking to score a goal against Grambling State on Sept. 13, 2019. Image by Jacob McCready
Source: North Texas Daily