DENTON, Texas -- Sophomore Nia Stallings scored her third goal of the season, but North Texas claimed a 2-1 win over the visiting Rice soccer team Sunday night on the road in Denton.
North Texas held-off Rice's second half rally to win its eight-straight match and the top seed in the upcoming Conference USA Tournament as the league's regular season champion. The Owls are now 9-6-2 overall and 5-3-1 in conference. The Blue & Gray holds at 16 points in the C-USA standings as teams continue to fight for spots and seeding in the tournament.
Rice had lost only one other match this month, but found itself fighting from two goals down midway through the first half. In only the game's third minute, North Texas' Rachel Holden scored her eleventh goal of the season on an assist from Jackie Moreau' s throw-in.
The Mean Green added another in goal in the 19th minute. Karla Pineda fielded a pass from Moreau and converted on a long shot attempt from outside the box for her seventh goal of the season.
The Owls regrouped to take seven shots in the second half, and got on the scoreboard in the 72nd minute. Sophomore Aliza Wolfe chipped a serve into the box, and Stallings found the back of the Mean Green net on her only shot of the night. The goal was Stallings' third of the season and seventh of her career. The score was also only the ninth time all season for North Texas to be scored upon.
Rice continued to search for the equalizer while North Texas wanted more breathing room. The Mean Green finished with a 14-13 lead in shots while the corners were even at 2-2.
The Owls are back home for their final regular season game on Oct. 29 (Thurs.). Rice hosts state foe UTSA in a critical C-USA match starting at 7 pm. The Owl seniors will be honored before the start of the contest.