TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — The North Texas soccer team concluded its non-conference portion of the schedule with a 3-1 loss at Alabama on Sunday afternoon.
The (RV) Mean Green (5-3) who received six top 25 national ranking votes in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll, got their lone goal on Sunday from junior Berklee Peters who scored in 77th minute off of a cross from sophomore Olivia Klein.
Peters’ goal, her sixth of the season, came while UNT trailed the Crimson Tide (5-2-1) by three. UA found the back of the net early in the match with a goal in 5th minute. Alabama increased its lead to 2-0 before the half and scored its eventual final goal in the 60th minute to go up 3-0.
“These non conference games are really helping us prepare for the conference games,” Peters said. “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,” she added.
Despite the result, the Mean Green did get strong contributions from a host of players.
Freshman forward Allie Byrd put constant pressure on the Alabama box and in the first half trailing by a goal was even taken down in the box on what appeared to be a foul but was not called.
Senior defender Dominique James and the backline limited the Crimson Tide’s leading goal scorer and points leader Casey Wertz to just one shot attempt.
Keeper Kelsey Brann made a number of highlight saves, from punching high shots over the crossbar and out to covering one post to the other with diving stops. She finished Sunday with seven saves to give her 30 on the year.
Along with Byrd’s near foul in the box, North Texas’ had a few other strong scoring chances.
“Allie is doing really good up top and with her size is getting a lot of scoring chances,” Peters said. “It just comes down to being confident out there on the field.”
Early in the match Byrd came charging in from the corner and fired a shot from close range that the Alabama keeper was able to not just deflect but catch. And then in the second half junior Brooke Lampe took aim at goal from roughly 25 yards out and hit the crossbar.
North Texas returns to Denton this coming Friday to start conference play. UNT will host Old Dominion at 7 p.m. at the North Texas Soccer and Track & Field Stadium. The Monarchs are the only team in Conference USA to have beaten the Mean Green over the past two seasons.
“Every year ODU is a tough game,” Peters said. “As a team this week we just need to work on being more aggressive, possession and working together as a whole. We can’t take ODU lightly or anyone in our conference. Every team likes to play is the hardest.”