NORFOLK, VA — For the first time since 2013 the North Texas soccer team won't be the Conference USA regular season champions.
A 3-1 loss at Old Dominion on Sunday ended their hopes for a fourth consecutive regular season title as first-place Rice defeated Charlotte 1-0.
"Trying to win four consecutive titles in C-USA is obviously not easy, really in any sport, let alone our league, but today just wasn't our day and unfortunately the goal of winning four in a row came to a end," said head coach John Hedlund. "Now we will set our sights on trying to get the second-seed and focus on winning another tournament title."
The Mean Green (11-3-2, 6-1-1), who entered Sunday's match in second-place and five points behind the Owls in the standings, played ODU (8-4-4, 5-2-2) tight until the Monarchs broke open the score in the 69th minute.
Following the goal, a desperate UNT pressured the ODU defense but could not finally break through until they were down by two goals.
Junior Aaliyah Nolan scored her team-leading sixth goal of the season off a free kick in the 83rd minute to bring North Texas within one goal. But a defensive lapse in the 89th minute was the final straw. Old Dominion scored off a free kick from midfield to take a commanding 3-1 lead.
This was UNT's first conference loss of the season and its first regular season conference loss since Oct. 9, 2016. It also ends its 11-match unbeaten streak. If UNT had improved it to 12 consecutive matches it would have been tied for the second-longest unbeaten streak in program history. The streak is, however, the longest since 2006.
UNT still can claim a fourth consecutive conference championship with a C-USA Tournament title. The conference tournament begins in two weeks from Boca Raton, Florida.
UNT hosts the No. 23 nationally ranked Rice Owls on Friday at 7 p.m. They conclude the regular season on Sunday at home versus FIU for a 1 p.m. kickoff.