The North Texas soccer team will begin the push for yet another Conference USA title on Friday when the Mean Green open league play at home with a game against Old Dominion.
UNT won the C-USA regular season and conference tournament titles last fall. The Mean Green have won the regular season championship, the conference tournament or both in each of the last five years.
UNT is 5-3 entering league play after facing a tough nonconference schedule that included games against Texas Tech, Alabama and Memphis. The Mean Green fell to the Crimson Tide 3-1 on Sunday.
Junior Berklee Peters scored UNT’s lone goal of the game on an assist from Olivia Klein.
“These nonconference games are really helping us prepare for the conference games,” Peters said in a release after the game. “We’re getting a lot of exposure to tough teams, which is helping our new team come together.
“The freshmen are starting to step up slowly, but we need more of them to help contribute and want to get out there.”
UNT spent the nonconference portion of its schedule working 15 newcomers into its lineup and has dealt with some growing pains along the way. The Mean Green lost to Texas Tech and Memphis in addition to Alabama but have taken care of business outside of their games against major conference opponents.
UNT received six votes in this week’s United Soccer Coaches Top 25 poll. The Mean Green were the only team from C-USA to receive a vote.
Old Dominion could pose a challenge for UNT. The Monarchs are unbeaten at 6-0-1 and beat William & Mary 5-0 in their last outing.
Volleyball: Conference USA honors setter Skopal
UNT setter Kaliegh Skopal was named Conference USA’s setter of the week on Monday for her performance during the Mean Green’s perfect run through a tournament at Abilene Christian.
Skopal finished with 136 assists while leading UNT wins over Cal State Fullerton, ACU and Prairie View A&M. The Mean Green did not drop a set in the tournament while improving to 5-4 on the season.
Skopal led C-USA in assists per set at 11.0 in the league’s latest stat leaders.
Volleyball: UNT to host tournament this weekend
UNT will host the North Texas Challenge this weekend, the Mean Green’s final tuneup for the opening of C-USA play.
UNT will face Kansas State on Thursday before taking on New Mexico and Ohio on Friday and Saturday.
Kansas State is 4-4 and has lost three straight matches.
Junior outside hitter Valerie Valerian enters the tournament with 945 kills and is quickly closing in on cracking the top 10 in program history. Heather Black ranks 10th with 977 kills.
UNT coach Andrew Palileo picked up his 400th win as a college coach over the weekend.