The Wildcats have started gearing up for a strong, solid matchup against the University of North Texas.
The last time ACU met UNT was in 2017, where there were four back-to-back years of competition from 2014-2017. All of these years ended in a loss for ACU, but there was close competition every year.
“We got ahead, and then we allowed a shot from deep,” head coach Casey Wilson said. “With their big strength and size, they are going to make you pay if you give them the opportunity. I think they are going into this game with a similar attack, and knowing this, we are going to have to keep the ball and take our opportunities.”
North Texas has started its season with some fierce competition. They started by playing an exhibition match against No.9 Texas A&M University, resulting in a tie, 1-1. At the beginning of September, the university met Baylor, ending in a loss of 0-2, and Oklahoma with a tie, 1-1.
Carrying out these tough competitions, the Mean Green has some top players making an outstanding performance, just at the start of the season. Taylor Tufts, redshirt sophomore midfielder from Southlake, and Olivia Klein, senior forward from Frisco, together have a combined number of 35 shot attempts from the five matchups so far.
Wilson knows that North Texas is strong offensively, and ACU will have to play a different game style to keep them from dominating.
“We need to be able to clear the ball,” Wilson said. “We need to keep it up the field and away from our goal. If we can’t play their game, we have to play a different game that will play with the chase.”
Although the Wildcats have not started the season on a high note, they know these matchups are preparing them for what’s important: the conference tournament. ACU stands at a record of 1-3, with the win coming from The University of Texas at El Paso, 1-0. The Wildcats have also played some big-name schools, including The University of Texas, Texas Tech and Texas State.
With these strong competitions, Wilson has seen which players rise to the challenge within the first four games. Lily Foster, a sophomore goalkeeper from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has recorded a total of 23 saves. Christina Arteaga, a senior forward from Pflugerville, has been dominating the offense with 13 shots and seven on goal. Natalie Jones, a junior midfielder from Lubbock, took her opportunity with seven shots, five on goal, with two goals.
“We talked about the right mentality, especially physical mentality,” Wilson said. “If it’s a physical game, are we going to retaliate and give them cheap fouls, or are we going to keep our head and mind even.”
The Wildcats play North Texas at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Elmer Gray Stadium, with a live stream on the WAC Digital Network.