NEW ORLEANS (Sun Belt) – The University of North Texas clinched the 2011 Sun Belt Conference regular season title on Friday night after defeating rival Denver 1-0 at the Mean Green Soccer Complex in Denton, Texas. The regular season title for North Texas is the school's first title since the 2005 season.
North Texas' win snapped a seven-match losing streak to Denver.
The Mean Green (13-4-2, 8-1-1 SBC) will now take their 14-game home unbeaten streak to Murfreesboro, Tenn., the site of the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Soccer Championship, where NT will be the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament. The one seed for the Mean Green is the first top seed for the program since the 2005 season, the last year NT won the SBC tournament title.
North Texas has had 17 consecutive winning seasons after posting 13 wins during the 2011 season.
FIU, which defeated rival Florida Atlantic 3-1 on Friday night, earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament as the Panthers own the tie-breaker over Denver. FIU (11-6-2, 8-1-2 SBC) defeated Denver, 1-0, on Oct. 16.
This will be the Panthers' fourth consecutive tournament appearance. FIU won the tournament in 2000. The eight wins in conference play this season is the third most in program history. FIU will face seventh-seeded Arkansas State on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 10 a.m.
Denver (15-4, 9-2 SBC) has won seven SBC tournament titles. This year the Pioneers led the league with 35 goals scored and five goals allowed in conference play. The Pioneers will face sixth-seeded South Alabama at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2 in the second match of first round.
Western Kentucky earned the league's fourth seed after defeating Middle Tennessee in overtime, 2-1 on Friday night. The Lady Toppers qualified for their tenth consecutive SBC tournament. WKU will take on tournament host and fifth-seeded Middle Tennessee on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Complex.
Middle Tennessee, as tournament host, reserved the right to choose the 7 p.m. time slot if the game time differed from their original seeded position. The No. 4 versus No. 5 match-up would have been played at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2 had the Blue Raiders not elected to choose the 7 p.m. time slot.
Middle Tennessee won last year's tournament title, the school's first ever soccer title. The Blue Raiders can make history again as MT seeks to become the first tournament host to win the tournament title. A title win will give the league its first back-to-back champion since the 2009 season.
South Alabama is the tournament's sixth seed and will be making its first tournament appearance since 2008. The 2011 season marked the first time the Jaguars posted an above .500 winning percentage since 2005. USA's 12 wins this season matched a program high.
Arkansas State will be the tournament's No. 7 seed. The Red Wolves defeated UALR, 4-0, on Friday night and have qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2009 when they advanced to the semifinals.
Troy earned the final seed of the tournament. The Trojans are making their fourth appearance at the SBC tournament. This was the fourth consecutive season the Trojans have posted eight or more wins.
Sun Belt Conference soccer action begins on Wednesday, Nov. 2 with the four first round matches followed by two semifinal matches on Thursday. Action will take a break on Friday with the SBC Soccer Championship game scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.
All games can be seen live via web stream courtesy of the Sun Belt. To sign-up for the live stream CLICK HERE.
Complete results, recaps and tournament videos can be found via the soccer championship central page at www.sunbeltsports.org.
2011 Sun Belt Conference Soccer Tournament Seeds
No. 1 North Texas (13-4-2, 8-1-1 [.850] SBC)
No. 2 FIU (11-6-2, 8-1-2 [.818] SBC)
No. 3 Denver (15-4, 9-2 [.818] SBC)
No. 4 Western Kentucky (12-6-1, 7-3-1 [.682] SBC)
No. 5 Middle Tennessee (10-8-1, 7-3-1 [.682] SBC)
No. 6 South Alabama (12-4-3, 5-3-2 [.600] SBC)
No. 7 Arkansas State (7-9-3, 5-5-1 [.500] SBC)
No. 8 Troy (9-10-1, 4-7 [.364] SBC)
2011 Sun Belt Conference Soccer Tournament Schedule of Events
Wednesday, November 2
MATCH 1 - 10 a.m. CT – No. 2 FIU vs. No. 7 Arkansas State
MATCH 2 - 1 p.m. CT – No. 3 Denver vs. No. 6 South Alabama
MATCH 3 - 4 p.m. CT – No. 1 North Texas vs. No. 8 Troy
MATCH 4 - 7 p.m. CT – No. 4 Western Kentucky vs. No. 5 Middle Tennessee
Thursday, November 3
MATCH 5 - 4 p.m. CT - Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner
MATCH 6 - 7 p.m. CT - Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner
Championship Saturday, November 5
MATCH 7 - 1 p.m. CT - Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner
all times central