The room was abuzz with excitement and celebration as nearly two dozen athletes gathered to receive the accolades – and hardware – earned after a season wrought with battles.
It was early March, and for the fourth time in five years, the University of North Texas women’s soccer team came together to receive their Conference USA championship rings. However, in typical Mean Green fashion, the players looked to the future even as they celebrated the past.
Senior Logan Layn enjoyed the team’s run to a conference championship – its 13th such title in team history – but knows her team can do even more.
“Conquering the NCAA Tournament is the next goal for us,” Layn says. “We, of course, need to continue winning conference championships to do that, but the NCAA tournament is the next step for our program.”
The team has been to the collegiate national tournament five times, but has yet to bring the tourney title home to Denton. But with a crop of rising stars setting their eyes on that main prize, the future looks bright.
It’s a future that has head coach John Hedlund excited.
“Each year brings different challenges, and when you have 20 or so players that become one and reach that goal of a championship – that’s what I enjoy most,” Hedlund said.
One of those players – junior Mia Bryce – believes her team can come together to translate their conference domination into national triumph.
“Winning the conference championship was very important, because it continued the tradition this program has built up,” she says. “But of course, the ultimate goal is always a national championship. The last thing you want to do is stop a winning tradition.”
UNT Women’s Soccer
Mean Green Soccer Stadium, 1508 S Bonnie Brae
Tickets: $7: single game / $5: groups of 10 or more
More info: 940.565.2527
Full schedule: meangreensports.com
Game Day the Dentoning Way
Mean Green Game Day
Six Saturdays this fall, Denton goes green for the Mean Green! Coming off a successful 2017 season, the Mean Green are back in action. With home games against DFW-rival SMU and Conference USA-foe Louisiana Tech on the schedule, make plans now to be in Denton for the showdowns.
Park once and dive into the Denton gameday experience. Ride the Mean Green Game Day shuttle! This FREE bus goes from downtown Denton to the game on a loop beginning two hours prior to kickoff.
Mean Green Ticket Office: 940.565.2527
Mean Green Schedule: meangreensports.com
Shuttle info: meangreengameday.com
Pioneers build on confidence
Texas Womans’ volleyball
Last season, the Pioneers made the deepest run within the Lone Star Conference (LSC) Tournament in program history, advancing to the tourney title match for the first time since 1997. The squad also recorded the largest upset on record with a victory over then-top-five ranked Angelo State.
The Pioneers also return top players in setter Katy Ranes, as well as libero Bailey French and middle blocker Courtney Noel. See them in action this fall in their matches, played at Kitty Magee Arena.
Tickets: $5 adults, $3 youth/seniors
TWU Ticket Office: 940.898.2385
Pioneers Schedule: twuathletics.com