North Texas grabbed a Sun Belt Conference championship Friday and set itself up to make a run at another in its final year in the league.
The Mean Green had a chance to wrap up the league’s regular-season title with a win over Western Kentucky in its final game Oct. 21, but lost to the Hilltoppers 2-0 on the road.
Fortunately for the Mean Green, WKU built on its win over UNT by posting a 1-1 tie with the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Friday in both teams’ final game of the regular season.
The Sun Belt declared UNT, MTSU and Florida International co-champions. All three teams finished with 8-1-1 conference records.
The Mean Green (13-4-2) earned the top seed in the conference tournament based on a tiebreaker.
UNT beat MTSU and tied FIU, giving UNT four points — three for the win and one for the tie.
The Blue Raiders topped FIU, lost to UNT and finished with three points. FIU earned one point for its tie with the Mean Green.
“When you lose only one game in conference play, you deserve to win the title and have the No. 1 seed,” UNT head coach John Hedlund said. “Believe me, winning championships never gets old. They are all special.”
It’s a familiar feeling for UNT, which also won last year’s regular-season Sun Belt championship and has seven titles since joining the Sun Belt in 2001 — five regular-season and two conference tournament titles.
UNT will depart for Conference USA after this season.
The tournament begins Wednesday at South Alabama. The Mean Green will take on Florida Atlantic, the No. 8 seed in the eight-team tournament, at 10 a.m.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sun Belt conference tournament
The following is Wednesday’s schedule for first-round games in the Sun Belt Conference soccer tournament at South Alabama:
10 a.m. — No. 1 North Texas vs. No. 8 Florida Atlantic
1 p.m. — No. 4 Western Kentucky vs. No. 5 Arkansas State
4 p.m. — No. 3 Florida International vs. No. 6 Troy
7 p.m. — No. 2 Middle Tennessee vs. No. 7 South Alabama