Sept. 17, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. - The No. 6 Texas A&M soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 3 Portland in front of a crowd of 4,517 at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex on a cool, rainy Friday night.

The Pilots (9-0) scored the only goal of the match in the 65th minute to extend their winning streak to nine straight, while snapping the Aggies' (6-2) six-game winning stretch.

"No one likes losing, but if you're going to lose a match you want it to be to a quality team and Portland is a terrific side," said A&M head coach G Guerrieri. "We had spells, but not enough of them. To be outshot 9-4 in shots on goal is a realistic stat. We needed to do better with the situations we created."

A&M produced a couple of early counter attacks that ended in dangerous crosses from junior Merritt Mathias and senior Whitney Hooper, but the Pilots controlled possession for most of the first half. In fact, the first shot for A&M came over 20 minutes into the match on a long look from Hooper.

The forward from Houston, Texas, also worked to earn the Aggies' first corner kick in the 26th minute. On the serve from senior Rachel Shipley, junior Bri Young one-timed back-to-back strikes from 12 yards, the second of which went high over the crossbar.

Shipley, Hooper and senior Alyssa Mautz each put shots on frame from outside the box in the half, but A&M's most dangerous chance came in the 31st minute. Mathias fed Hooper at the top of the box and after Hooper dribbled into the right side of the penalty area, she fired a shot towards the far post from 15 yards that had the keeper beat, but went just wide.

The game was knotted at 0-0 when the two teams went into the 15-minute break, with shots on goal even at three apiece.

Just over two minutes into the second half, the Aggies created another great scoring opportunity when Mautz found Hooper in A&M's attacking third. With four defenders around her, Hooper created space and struck a shot from 15 yards that forced the UP goalkeeper to dive to her left to keep the match scoreless.

Roughly 20 minutes later, Portland controlled the ball in its offensive third and at the 65-minute mark, Sarah Bridges threaded a cross from the end line to Halley Kreminski in the six-yard box who one-touched a shot inside the near post to push the Pilots ahead, 1-0.

Portland limited A&M to three second-half shots and 11 shots overall, while they fired off 25. The Pilots also held a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal and a 6-4 edge in corner kicks.

Hooper led the A&M attack with five shots, including two on frame. Sophie Schmidt posted the same stats to lead Portland's offense.

Senior Kristin Arnold started the match between the posts for the Aggies and made one save before she sustained an injury and was replaced by senior Kelly Dyer. The Pilots forced Dyer to make a season-high seven saves.

Texas A&M returns to the Aggie Soccer Stadium on Sunday for a 6 p.m. match against Cal State Northridge.

"We play a tough schedule because it helps us get better," continued Guerrieri. "This weekend is a split weekend like we're going to have to endure through the conference schedule. We set it up this way to learn from the experience and now we need to be able to come back on Sunday and play well at home."