North Texas waited a long time to find out where it was headed Monday, when the Mean Green’s players, coaches and a whole host of supporters gathered at Apogee Stadium to watch the NCAA tournament selection show.
UNT’s players half jokingly breathed a sigh of relief when the first-round opponent for national powerhouse North Carolina was announced and cheered when they didn’t end up drawing Baylor in the first round.
The biggest cheer, though, came when UNT was announced as the opening-round opponent for Texas Tech.
The Mean Green (16-4-2) will travel to Lubbock this weekend to face a familiar opponent at a time that has yet to be announced.
“It was so nerve-racking,” UNT forward Michelle Young said. “We were waiting for our name to be called and had to wait until the final bracket.”
UNT head coach John Hedlund and his players couldn’t have been happier with the result. The Mean Green will face a Texas team, one with which it is familiar, at a site that will allow some of their supporters to get to the game.
UNT played in the Red Raider Classic in the 2010 season and lost to Tech 1-0 in a game that was scoreless until the 84th minute.
Texas Tech is 15-5-1 this season.
“We like the matchup with them, and I’m sure they feel the same,” Hedlund said. “Their team is based on a lot of Texas players, so we are familiar with them, and they are familiar with us. We look forward to the opportunity.”
UNT advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2004 and 2005.
The Mean Green’s goal all season long has been to get back to the tournament and then take it a step farther.
“Our goal was not to just get to the NCAAs, but to make a run,” Hedlund said. “I like our chances. We like the matchup. My team is healthy, and we are playing well.”
UNT won all three of its matches in the Sun Belt Conference tournament 1-0 last week, including a win over Florida International in the final.
“Defensively, we played amazing, and our offense picked it up as well,” UNT defender Kelsey Hodges said. “We played together very well the entire week.
“It’s an exciting moment. We are living a dream.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .