SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Mean Green soccer team is taking its hot start to the 2018 season to the west coast where they are facing off against the No. 12 ranked Santa Clara Broncos at 9:30 p.m. CT.
Just two days removed from a 4-0 win over Southeastern Louisiana, North Texas (2-0-1) who in the first United Soccer Coaches poll of the year received votes for a top 25 ranking, feels its starting to find its groove early in the season but will need to make sure it sticks to the game plan in order to beat the Broncos (2-0). A win over Santa Clara would be the program's first win against a ranked opponent since 2003.
"We have to stay focused, trust our coaching and finish on opportunities," said senior forward Taylor Torres
. "We have the talent."
Torres is leading the Mean Green offensive pack as she has recorded six points in UNT's last two matches. She's scored a goal in each of the last two matches and had two assists on Friday versus SLU.
"We're moving the ball well, which is giving us a lot of opportunities," Torres added.
As what has come accustomed to the program, UNT has massively outshot its first three opponents. The Mean Green have taken 73 shots in the first three matches where as their opponents have taken just 39.
"We know our defense is always going to be lockdown and we can trust them," Torres said. "We just need to make sure we're capitalizing on offense."
Through the first three matches of the year, North Texas is averaging 24.33 shots per match, which is nearly five more than the next highest average in Conference USA — Old Dominion.
"We know they're a tough team," Torres said. "But our offense is dangerous, especially when our defense is feeding us."
Santa Clara is off to an undefeated start to its season, beating San Jose State in the opener and crushing California (RV) 4-1 last Monday. The Broncos have not played a match since then.
They feature a few highly-touted players, including sophomore forward Kelsey Turnbow who has been part of the United States U14, U15, U17, U18, U19 and U20 National Team. Turnbow scored in the 59th minute versus Cal on a header off of a cross.
Junior forward Maddy Gonzalez is SCU's leading scorer through the first two matches. She scored two goals in the season opener and one versus California.
In 2003, UNT beat No. 21 Denver 3-2.
The Mean Green have played a ranked team in three consecutive years but fallen just short in all three, losing to two of three by one goal and to No. 17 Arkansas in 2017 by two goals.
Monday's match versus Santa Clara can be seen live on the West Coast Conference's free video streaming service.