Soccer Advances to Sweet 16

Aggies Down Washington 3-1


Nov. 16, 2008

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 13 Texas A&M soccer team downed No. 22 Washington, 3-1, in the second round of the NCAA Division I Championship on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.

The win advances the Aggies (17-4-1) to the Sweet 16 for the eighth time in program history. A&M is set to play No. 2-seeded Florida in Gainesville, Fla., at a time and date yet to be determined. The Huskies ended their season with a 15-6-1 record.

"I thought it was a very good game," said head coach G Guerrieri. "To go up three-nothing makes it look like it was different than the game really was. Washington came out and really, for the first 25 minutes of the match, they had us on our heels a little bit. We had some trouble gaining possession and getting ourselves going. Once we got through that and got some of the jitters out of the way with our youth, you could see the confidence start rolling."

Washington came out on the attack and controlled possession early, but the Aggie defense was flawless and A&M managed a few counter attacks.

At the 20-minute mark A&M earned the first corner kick of the game and freshman Becca Herrera struck a bending ball to the back post as freshman Beth West went up for a header, but was unable to connect.

Seven minutes later, the Aggies were on the attack and a UW player was given a yellow card to set up a free kick in front of the A&M bench. Herrera sent a ball into the box where freshman Raven Tatum headed it to senior Laura Grace Robinson at the near post. The midfielder tapped in A&M's first shot of the game for her seventh goal of the season.

 

 

Possession went back and forth for the remainder of the period and UW's Veronica Perez sent a through ball in to Melissa Beal in the penalty area with five minutes remaining in the half. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Dyer kept the Huskies off the scoreboard with a one-handed, diving save to her left on the shot.

The Aggies came out on the attack in the second period and after their third corner kick in a three-minute span, freshman Rachel Balaguer netted the first goal of her career in the 57th minute. The bender from Herrera was headed out by the Washington defense to Balaguer at the top of the box and the Austin, Texas, native blasted a shot into the back of the net.

Robinson nearly scored her second goal of the game three minutes later after sophomore Whitney Hooper sent a cross into the box. Robinson collected the loose ball that occurred and hit a left-footed rocket from 20 yards that hit the crossbar.

After the Aggies' seventh corner kick of the match, senior Micah Stephens put the ball back into attack, finding Robinson on the right side. Robinson veered the ball across to Hooper who fired a shot into the right-side netting for her sixth goal of the season.

Washington scored on an own goal after a corner kick by Nikki Murray in the 80th minute.

A&M outshot UW 14-13 and held a 7-5 advantage in corner kicks. Dyer made five saves to pick up her 15th win in goal.

The Aggies now shift their focus to eighth-ranked Florida in the Sweet 16 this weekend.

"The Gators are a tremendous program," said Guerrieri. "For us, the thing that's a bright spot is that even though we're going to have to go play against a great team in their home, it's going to be similar weather to what we have and it's a similar surface to what we're accustomed to. I think it should be an attractive game. We've had some great matches with them over the years."

Stay logged on to AggieAthletics.com for the date and time of the upcoming third-round match.

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