North Texas Daily (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 100, No. 7, Ed. 1 Wednesday, September 12, 2012 Page: 4 of 6
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Wednesday, September 12,2012
Joshua Friemel, Sports Editor
Multiple reasons for tough UNT schedules
Senior Staff Writer
Every year, Mean Green
Athletics has to field questions
about why UNT faces teams
that are ranked among the top
in the country.
The Mean Green football team
is gearing up to play the No. 15
team in the country - Kansas
State - this weekend and was
already beaten by No. 3 Louisiana
State 41-14 to open the season.
Likewise, last season, No. 2
Alabama defeated UNT 41-0.
UNT received $750,000 to
play Alabama two years ago, and
Athletic Director Rick Villarreal
confirmed that the school was
paid more to play I .SI' this year.
As part of a home-and-home
series, Kansas State is not paying
the UNT football team to play.
Football is not the only sport
that faces highly ranked non-
conference opponents each year.
Last season, the Softball
team faced opponents like No.
9 Baylor and No. 11 Oklahoma
State, the tennis team went toe-
to-toe with No. 25 Oklahoma
and No. 30 Tulsa and the volley-
ball team squared off with No.
17 Oklahoma. Soccer isn't any
different, as the team plays No, 7
Oklahoma State next week.
Villarreal confirmed that some
games provide financial benefits
but said that in order for Mean
Green Athletics to grow and
mature, it needs to play "big time"
programs. The lack of tickets sold
Photo by James Coreas/Visuals Editor
Defensive back junior Marcus Trice escapes a tackle from a Texas Southern player Saturday night at Apogee stadium. Over the past two years, the Mean Green
football team has played two opponents ranked in the top three in the country, including LSU two weeks ago.
for home games also contributes
to playing teams for money.
"Some of those games are
financial situations. We don't have
Mean Green Club members' [Jhat
other] schools have because for a
long time here no one supported
athletics at all," he said. "We can
go beat a team in our conference,
and to our fans and the rest of the
country it is just a win, but when
you go see what's happening in
Monroe [Louisiana] right now
with a win over Arkansas, it's
The Monroe game that he is
referring to is the University of
Louisiana at Monroe defeating
the then-No. 8 Arkansas
Razorbacks 34-31 in overtime in
the second week of the college
ULM is a Sun Belt Conference
member, while Arkansas is a
member of the Southeastern
Conference, a conference that
has won the last six college foot-
ball national championships.
Christian Williams said playing
teams purely for financial reasons
shouldn't be the main goal for
any Mean Green sports team.
"[Getting money] to play
certain schools, it's good for
the school, I guess," Williams
said. "I'm not sure if it's okay to
accept the money to get beat
down at a game. Financially, it
would be good, but it's not really
helping the team to get thrashed
From the sports teams'
perspectives it doesn't matter
who UNT plays, because they
focus on playing against the
other team rather than focusing
on the national recognition the
team obtains, said Zach Olen,
junior kicker of the football
"I think it inspires us [to play
tough teams]," he said. "It's an
'any-given-Saturday' type feeling.
Anybody can beat anybody, so
that's our mindset right now."
Villarreal said that in order
to get better athletically, tough
opponents need to be on the
"You have to hire the right
coaches, hafl we have coaches,"
Villarreal said. "You have to have
the right facilities, [and] we have
facilities. And then you have to
fill the stands so you can dictate
your own future, and if you don't,
you have to figure out a way for
the budget to work at this level."
De: ender perseveres
Photo by Carrie Canova/Staff Photographer
Kelsey Hodges played in the FC Dallas system over the summer. Hodges is a
defender at UNT.
Senior Staff Writer
On the soccer field, junior defender
Kelsey Hodges dons a thick black
Hodges said the band isn't only
"The main reason why I wear it is
because I've had three concussions in
the lastfour or five years,"Hodges said.
She has worn it since her senioryear
ofhigh school after her first concussion.
"I'm kind of known for it [the head-
band] now, but I don't really know
why," she said. "I guess it's because I'm
the only one who wears one."
was able to get past the concussions to
rack up several accolades last season,
including Sun Belt Conference Player
ofthc Week honors while making first
team All-Sun Belt.
This season she has already been
named SBC Defensive Player of the
Week after the doubleheader against
Oral Roberts and Missouri State and
was named the Sun Belt preseason
Defensive Player of the Year.
I lodges mother, Ann Hodges, said
her daughter is "two different people
on and off the field."
Although there are some similar-
ities, like her daughter's focus and
concern for others, her tough atti-
tude and aggression are things she
Kelsey Hodges attributed her
on-field passion to an ACL (ante-
rior cruciate ligament) injury she had
four years ago. She was sidelined for
"I always keep in mind I don't know
how long I'm going to be able to play
soccer," Kelsey Hodges said. "I just
go after it. I can be a little hardcore
sometimes and play really aggressive
on the field."
Off the field, Kelsey Hodges said
she is pretty quiet but loves to joke
around with her friends and team-
mates, especially sophomore goal-
keeper Jackie Kerestine.
"She's still a kid at heart," Ann
Hodges said. "She likes to have
fun, play games and play pranks."
When she's not on the soccer
field, Kelsey Hodges said that she
and her three roommates, junior
defenders Tori Adame, Shelley
Holt and Allison Guderian, often
explore their culinary talent.
"We have a fun time cooking
and bakingtogether," she said. "Me
and Tori are usually the guineapigs
that try all the cookies, cakes and
stuff Shelly and Ally cook."
This offseason Kelsey
Hodges, alongside teammates
senior forward Michelle Young
and senior forward Katelyn
Ross, played for FC Dallas'
Women's Premier Soccer
League team. The WPSL is a
semi-pro league with aspirations
of creating a national profes-
sional women's soccer league.
While playing for FC Dallas,
WPSL Club Director Chris
Ring said she brought a new
dimension to the defense.
"The No. 1 thing that she
brought is aphysicality we didn't
have before," Ring said. "In her
tackling and in her aggression,
she is exactly what you want in
Kelsey Hodges' goal is to play
post-collegiate soccer, even if
that means going overseas.
"I don't want to look back on
it and regret not trying," she said.
Benford holds first
In an effort to build relation-
ships with current and former
basketball players, men's head
basketball coach Tony Benford
held the first-ever North Texas
Recognition Ceremony on
Players from as early as 1941 and
as recent as 2000 from across the
state were invited to attend the
family reunion-type event.
Benford is taking over for
Johnny Jones, the second-
winningest coach in UNT's
history, after Louisiana State
University offered Jones the head
coaching position on its men's
team. Holding the event in his
first year as head coach is a way
to build relationships with current
players as well as former players.
"We are a family, and we are all in
this together," Benford said. "This
is their alma mater. We want them
to embrace not only this team but
The event allowed current
players to hear stories from alumni
about how the university was in an
entirely different era.
Although the university isn't
the same school that former point
guard Ron Miller attended in 1963,
Miller said he is eager to see what
the upcoming season holds for the
team. Miller attended UNT during
a time of segregation, on a much
"Back when I played, [the
stadium] had windows, and people
Photo by Zac Switzer/Senior Staff Photographer
Head coach Tony Benford conveys high hopes for the future of North Texas basketball
program, speaking to alumni at the Mean Green Reunion, held Saturday.
would line up outside to get in,"
Miller said. "Theyflans] Would get
on each other's backs to look in and
see the game. Maybe we can fill the
stadium like we used to."
The recognition ceremony not
only involved the basketball team,
but athletes from other sports as
Former UNT athlete Ernie
Kuehne Jr., part of the group that
raised $3 million dollars in 30 days
for the new practice facility, was
also in attendance.
"I came here a track man, left
a student, came back thinking I
would help out golf, but now all I
can say is I am definitely a basket-
ball man," Kuehne said. "My dream
is to fill that arena every night."
Even four-time Super Bowl
Champion and UNT alumnus
Charles "Mean Joe" Greene talked
with Benford about the coach and
player relationship. Benford said
Greene told him to think outside
of the box, which led to the incep-
tion of the recognition ceremony.
"Those guys put a lot of sweat
and tears into the Super Pit and the
Snake Pit," Benford said. "I want
my guys today to know that those
guys have had success here and are
successful not only in basketball,
but successful in life by getting
an education from North Texas."
No down time or UNT between tournaments
After coming off the Mean
Green Volleyball Classic, where
the team won 2-2, UNT (9-4)
will play the Prairie View A&M
Panthers (2-9) in Denton for the
second time this season.
This will be the third time in
head coach Ken Murczek s tenure
that the two teams will meet.
UNT leads the all-time series
16-1 with the most recent win on
Aug. 24 in Denton. The Mean
Green won 3-0.
Even though the two teams
have already played one another
this year, Murczek said getting
game experience for the players
is more beneficial than practicing
against each other.
"In the preseason I want to
play a lot. We have seven new
players this year," Murczek said.
"Sometimes playing a match is
more productive than practice."
The Mean Green is working
on one of its best starts in the
program's history, but is still
coming off of a tournament where
it experienced its only losing
streak of the season.
"We get only 28 dates to use
in the preseason, and it's hard to
get matches, especially at home,"
Murczek said. "Whenever you can
get one at home, you want to take
it. They owed us one from last
year when we visited their place."
This season, UNT has
thrived off the performance of
junior middle blocker Courtney
Windham, who not only leads the
team in blocks but also leads the
Sun Belt Conference.
from last year is credited to a
change of position from outside
hitter to middle blocker, a posi-
tion she's been trained to play
since the second grade.
"It really is nice to be back
in my element," Windham said.
"All types of games are going to
help us get ready for conference
play. Yeah, it'll be nice to breeze
through preseason, but we get
where we want to be because of
preseason and working through
Although the previous matchup
against the Panthers ended with
a 3-0 sweep by the Mean Green,
PVAMU is not a team to sleep on.
A strong backcourt has allowed
the Panthers to out-dig its oppo-
nents by a full dig-per-set average.
"We expect them to be a very
scrappy team," redshirt freshman
outside hitter Analisse Shannon
said. "Because of that we need
to expect the ball to be returned
over the net in really every way
The match will start at 5:00
p.m. today in the Volleyball Center
at the Mean Green Village.
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Stratso, Chelsea. North Texas Daily (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 100, No. 7, Ed. 1 Wednesday, September 12, 2012, newspaper, September 12, 2012; Denton, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth291786/m1/4/: accessed March 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.