Needing points to keep pace in the Conference USA West Division soccer race, North Texas turned in what might have been its best all-around performance in league play with a 3-0 home win over Charlotte on Sunday.
The 49ers (7-5-2, 2-2-2 C-USA) entered the day atop the East Division, but goals from North Texas’ Brooke Oxentine, Rachel Holden and Kelsey Hodges proved too much. The Mean Green (9-5-1, 3-2-1) is undefeated in its last 23 conference home matches (21-0-2).
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to go undefeated at home against Conference USA competition,” North Texas head coach John Hedlund said. “This is a talented, well-coached Charlotte team that we faced today, and I’m really proud of the way we executed. When you are able to score goals like we did today, it simply takes the pressure off.”
The first career goal from Oxentine opened things up in the 40th minute. The sophomore took a rip from 25 yards that skipped off a Charlotte defender and past the keeper.
Holden added an insurance goal with a header from the 6-yard box in the 61st minute, and a Kelsey Hodges penalty shot put the game away just before the 80th minute.
The Mean Green next travels to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane at 7 p.m. Friday in another C-USA match.
Dillard shines in loss
Despite sophomore Carnae Dillard’s career high-tying 31 kills, North Texas fell short in a 21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 26-24 loss to visiting Marshall.
The Mean Green (12-10, 4-2 C-USA) won the first set, but the Thundering Herd took the next two. In the fourth set, Marshall (10-11, 4-2) seemed to have things well in hand until Dillard led a furious rally to force a tiebreaker. But Marshall was able to hold on and win the match in four sets.
“We lost as a team today,” UNT head coach Andrew Palileo said. “We didn’t do a lot of things well, and Marshall came out and played with a little more passion than we did.”
With her performance, Dillard cracked the top 10 on UNT’s all-time career kills list, claiming sole possession of eighth place with 875 in 59 career matches.
Senior captain Shelby Tamura dug up a season-high 22 balls, while Dillard added 19 digs to give her a team-high 17th double-double on the year.
The Mean Green next will go on the road to play UAB at 7 p.m. Friday.