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Nolan and North Texas bow out in first round

Bermuda women's team forward Aaliyah Nolan

Aaliyah Nolan made her final appearance for the University of North Texas in a 1-0 defeat away to Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Championship at Ellis Field, College Station, on Friday.

The 21-year-old Bermuda striker played a total of 84 minutes in the match which was decided by Ally Watt’s golden goal in double overtime.

Watt gained possession from a long ball and rode two tackles before chipping the advancing Kelsey Brann, the University of North Texas goalkeeper, two minutes away from a penalty shoot-out.

“This is as tough as it gets, losing in the final minutes of double overtime,” John Hedlund, the North Texas coach, said.

“The way Kelsey was playing all night, we liked our chances if it went to penalties, but unfortunately, A&M had the late goal.”

Ansley Bunger went close for North Texas in the 32nd minute when she had a header cleared off the line and the rebound saved.

Elle Marie DeFrain also threatened with a shot from 35 yards, which was tipped over the bar.

“It was a tremendous game,” Hedlund added. “We had our opportunities. They saved one off the goalline. Their goalkeeper made some good saves.”

It is the second straight year that North Texas have been eliminated from the tournament in the first round, having lost 3-0 away to the Texas Longhorns at the same stage last season.

Nolan and her team-mates finished their season with a 15-3-3 record and advanced to the championship after successfully defending their Conference USA title.

North Texas also won the regular season championship with Nolan netting both goals in a 2-1 overtime victory away to Middle Tennessee to earn Conference Offensive Player of the Week accolades.