Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Texas A&M

BATON ROUGE, La. - Junior goalkeeper Kelly Dyer saved the first penalty kick, taken by LSU's All-American Malorie Rutledge, and all four Aggies buried their strikes as the No. 22 Texas A&M soccer team advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a 4-2 edge in PK's over 10th-ranked and No. 4 national seed LSU on Sunday afternoon at the LSU Soccer Complex.

Freshman Mary Grace Schmidt was the first player to attempt a PK and she connected. Two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Rutledge, was up next and Dyer came up with a huge save. Junior Rachel Shipley, senior Cydne Currie and senior Emily Peterson each made their kicks before Melissa Clarke, LSU's second leading scorer hit the crossbar and the Aggies (15-6-3) stormed the field.

"Kelly Dyer is one of the best goalkeepers I've ever been around as far as penalty kick situations," said head coach G Guerrieri. "We knew that if we put our balls in the back of the net that Kelly would take care of the rest.

The Aggies and the Tigers (15-4-5) played to a 1-1 draw in double overtime before the penalty kick shootout determined which team advanced. A&M moves on to the Sweet 16 for the 10th time in program history and faces fifth-ranked and No. 1 national seed Florida State next weekend in Tallahassee, Fla., on a date and time yet to be determined.

"We're very excited," continued Guerrieri. "It was a very entertaining game and soccer fans were given a pretty good show. Both teams played hard and we have a lot of respect for LSU. I'm proud of our young ladies because it took a heck of a good team to be able to come into Baton Rouge and beat them."

In a match that started pretty evenly, the Aggies' received their first scare in the 12th minute when Clarke took a shot from the top of the box. Dyer slipped in an attempt to gather the strike and luckily Clarke's shot hit the far post and was cleared by the A&M defense.

The Aggies moved the ball into their attacking third often in the half and junior Alyssa Mautz got on the end of a free kick by junior Rachel Shipley in the 16th minute. Her header was stopped by a diving LSU goalkeeper, Mo Isom.

Thirty seconds later, Shipley found another hole in the Tiger defense and slotted a pass to sophomore Rachael Balaguer who collected the ball at the end line. Her cross found sophomore Katie Hamilton and the forward from Spring, Texas, tapped a shot inside the six-yard box that was stopped at the near post by a diving Isom.

Less than a minute into the second half, immediate pressure by A&M resulted in shot from 22 yards by Hamilton that went high.

Freshman Kim Castleberry came into the game in midway through the period and on her first touch she dribbled the ball into A&M's attacking third and earned A&M's second corner kick. Shipley's kick went to the far post where Peterson headed the ball into the back of the net to put the Aggies up 1-0. The goal marked the second of Peterson's career.

Two minutes later Rutledge was fouled in the penalty box. Clarke scored on the subsequent penalty kick to even the match, 1-1.

The Aggies nearly regained the lead with 18 minutes remaining. Castleberry worked the ball on the left side of the penalty area and found Mautz eight yards out in front of the goal. Mautz's low strike to the near post was stopped by a diving Isom.

A shot by LSU's Allysha Chapman after a corner kick with nine minutes left was easily caught by junior Kristin Arnold in goal.

A&M remained dangerous in the final five minutes of regulation, keeping the ball in its attacking third the entire time and earning two corner kicks.

In the first overtime period, the Aggies had two opportunities - the best coming in the 95th minute. Freshman Nora Skelton collected the ball at midfield and turned around an LSU defender to make a run down the left flank. She slid a pass to Hamilton at the top of the box and her shot from 16 yards was scooped up by Isom at the near post.

In the second overtime period, Currie fired off a shot from outside the box on the right side that went just over the cross bar. LSU countered and a dangerous cross to Clarke in the box slipped through everyone and went over the end line.

With three minutes remaining in play, junior Nicole Ketchum drilled a shot from 25 yards that was deflected by an LSU defender for a corner kick. On Shipley's serve, Mautz flicked the ball towards the goal, but wide.

A&M earned an 18-10 shot advantage and held LSU without a shot on goal in the final 29 minutes of play.

The last time the Aggies played to a penalty kick shootout was in the 2007 Big 12 Tournament when they advanced 8-7 in PK's over Iowa State on Nov. 7.