Madeline Guderian

Road Warriors

OGDEN, Utah — No one enjoys playing on the road.

From unfamiliar stadiums and locker rooms to having to do unusual routines.

Road matches take student-athletes out of their comfort zone to try and accomplish an already difficult task of winning a soccer game while also studying for school.

For the North Texas soccer team, playing at home has been a huge advantage for them. They own a 177-28-15 record all-time at home. 

But over the next month, they will be playing seven of eight on the road.

Thursday they're at Weber State, taking on a winless Wildcat team at 9:00 p.m. CT.

"Head coach John Hedlund always makes sure we're focused on one game and one team at a time," said junior Madeline Guderian. "We never overlook anyone and we always go out with our end goal in mind, which is to win another conference championship. That's always in the back of our minds but we go out strong each game and do what we need to do to take care of business on the field."

North Texas (2-1-1) dropped its first match of this stretch of road games on Monday at the No. 12 ranked Santa Clara Broncos, 1-0. 

The Mean Green's defense withstood Santa Clara's highly-touted offense for 74 minutes, but a late foul in the box cost them as the Broncos converted on the penalty kick.

Thursday, UNT is facing a Weber State (0-1-1) squad that is likely eager to get things going on the offensive end. The Wildcats have yet to score a goal and have only put seven shots on goal. Compared to a Mean Green team that has fired 22 shots on goal, albeit have played two more games than the Wildcats.

For Guderian and the rest of the soccer team, Monday's loss is behind them and they need to take care of Weber State so they can head into the depth of this stretch of matches with more momentum.

A key to picking up momentum will likely be finding more consistency in the front.

Hedlund has changed the starting forwards in every match this season looking for the right combonations. On the flip-side, the Mean Green's defense, which has helped UNT earn nationally recognition during its current stretch of four-straight years of winning a conference championship, has seen far more consistency in the lineup and out of its veteran leaders. 

To no surprise, centerbacks Carissa Sanders and Dominique James played all 90 minutes on Monday at Santa Clara and fellow defender Natalie Newell played 87 as they blocked eight of the Broncos' 15 shots.

Since leaving for California last weekend to play at Santa Clara, UNT has traveled roughly 2,500 miles in less than a week. They've stayed at two hotels and began school this week.

But for a team and a program that has won 13 conference championships in 23 years and five over the last four years, overcoming adversity is nothing new. 

"There's always going to be some adversity on the road," Guderian said. "But nothing is going to stop us or hold us back from going out and taking care of business and getting another ring this year."

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