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Soccer: Holden’s late strike rescues frustrated Mean Green

Profile image for By Steve Gamel
By Steve Gamel

Rachel Holden saved North Texas from having to go to overtime against a team it clearly outmatched.

In the 87th minute of Sunday’s home game against Oregon State, Holden outran defender Miranda Stover to a rolling free ball down the sideline and, after making a sharp turn toward the net, nudged the ball through to secure a 1-0 win at the Mean Green Soccer Complex.

“It [the shot] wasn’t pretty; I got a little off balance but it worked,” said Holden, who has two goals in two games this year.

North Texas outshot Oregon State 14-4 in the second half and 20-11 for the game. After not posting any attempts in the first half, Holden had five of her team’s second-half shots, three of which were on goal.

Sunday was the first meeting between the two programs and lifts UNT (2-0) to its second win in three days while keeping the Beavers (0-2) searching for their first win. Since the Mean Green Soccer Complex opened in 2006, North Texas is 66-9-6 at home. The team opened the season on Friday with a 3-0 win over Texas Southern, but had trouble finishing against Oregon State, despite controlling most of the game.

“It was pretty stressful because we had so many opportunities. You would think with the way we dominated that the scoreboard would reflect that,” North Texas coach John Hedlund said. “It feels good to be 2-0 and to protect our home turf in both wins, though. Rachel is such a great player and we’ve told her to go for the shot if she’s in a one-on-one. I was able to rest her for a little bit and get her back in for the final seven minutes. I think that helped a lot.”

Oregon State played solid defense throughout the match but started to wilt as UNT got more aggressive in the second half.

Within the first few minutes of the half, UNT popped off four shots — two from Holden. With 15:15 left in regulation, Holden missed on a short range shot after teammate Karla Pineda wrestled the ball away from Oregon State keeper Bella Geist.

North Texas scored almost three minutes later, but the goal was called off for offside.

For the game, 12 of North Texas’ 20 shots were on goal.

“You’re going to have games like that sometimes,” Holden said of North Texas’ struggles to score earlier. “Personally, I didn’t finish on several of the chances I had to score and it’s something we will all continue to work on. It’s good we got the one when we needed it.”

North Texas plays at Houston at 1 p.m. on Friday.