DENTON — Despite an unbeaten start to the year, North Texas head soccer coach John Hedlund
had stressed to his forwards and midfield all week that they needed to improve the offense in order to get to the level he believes his defending Conference USA championship team is capable of reaching.
Friday night versus Southeastern Louisiana (1-1) the Mean Green (2-0-1) did that as they rolled past the Lady Lions 4-0 at home.
"I was happy with our team's overall performance tonight," Hedlund said. "It was a solid win at home against a very good Southeastern Louisiana team."
UNT put the pressure on early with goals, something they hadn't done well in its previous two matches, and scored three in the first 30 minutes of the match. They converted on opportunities, another thing they struggled with in the first two matches, as they scored the three first half goals on just six shots.
The Mean Green nailed the coffin shut in the 60th minute when Aaliyah Nolan
netted her second goal of the match, third of the year, to give North Texas the 4-0 win.
"We've been relying on our defense the last couple of games, so for me it was nice to see our offense step up tonight and get the goals we needed to win the match," Hedlund said.
North Texas' defense was its typical top-notch self. They not only shutout a Lady Lions team that scored eight goals in their last match, but they also contained them to just eight shot attempts and only one was on goal.
The four goals Friday matched the Mean Green's season total for the year and the three different women that scored a goal had already scored on this year.
Senior Taylor Torres
scored the first goal Friday night. The 2017 C-USA Tournament Offensive MVP found the back of the net 10 minutes in off of a turnover and an assist from Maci Schoonover
. Torres, who led the team in goals last year, moved into a tie for 24th on the program's all-time goal scoring list with what was her second goal of the year and 15th career goal.
"After scoring the goal against Alabama I have a lot of confidence in myself right now," Torres explained. "I've been working really hard on executing what the coaches have asked of me and I think today and the last match I did a pretty good job of it."
Nolan scored the second and fourth goals against the Lady Lions. It was the senior's first division I multi-goal performance. Nolan transferred from Navarro College after the 2016 season.
The Mean Green's third goal came off the head of sophomore Elle Marie DeFrain
. It was the midfielder's second goal of the year, which surpasses her freshman season total of one. Additionally, she didn't score her lone goal last season until conference play.
The offensive rise is exactly what Hedlund is looking for just two days before his squad travels to Santa Clara and takes on the No. 12 ranked Broncos who will have a whole week off before playing UNT.
"If we keep playing the way we're supposed to, with connection up top and our signature defense, we can beat anyone," Torres said. "We'll be ready."
MEAN GREEN QUICK SHOTS
- Friday's win was UNT 100th at the Mean Green Soccer Stadium, which they moved into in 2006. They are 100-15-9 (.842) in the 11 plus years in their current stadium.
-Torres is now tied with Carley McDowell, Julie Lackey and Alyssa Carter on the program's all-time goal scoring list.
North Texas travels to Santa Clara on Monday for a 9:30 p.m. CT matchup.