Texas A&M advances past Stephen F. Austin in first-round victory
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Annie Kunz scored the game's lone goal and the Texas A&M defense logged its 14th shutout of the season as the No. 15 Aggies defeated Stephen F. Austin 1-0 in NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship first-round action at Ellis Field on Friday evening. With the win, Texas A&M improved to 18-4-1 overall.
SFA's best season in program history came to a close with a 17-4-0 mark. The 17 wins are a program best.
The Ladyjacks, playing in their third NCAA championship, dictated the terms of play early in the contest, outshooting the Aggies 7-1 in the first 25 minutes of action. There were tense moments for Texas A&M early in the match when Zuri Prince slipped past the defense for a clear shot in the seventh minute of action but missed wide right. Laura Sadler missed a scoring opportunity in the fifth minute, with her shot also going just a few feet wide.
Texas A&M made its second shot of the game count as Bianca Brinson was able to slip a pass through the SFA defense from the top of the penalty box finding Kunz in front of goal at the top of the six-yard box. Kunz knocked the ball to the left of the Ladyjacks' netminder Lacey Lee for her 12th goal of the season. It was just the seventh goal allowed by Lee the entire season.
The Aggies' Leigh Edwards hit the crossbar on a shot with 15 minutes remaining in the first half, but that was the last threat of the half and the A&M went into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Both teams threatened the scoreboard in the second half. Annie Kunz had a pair of shots that nearly added to the score as her shot from 15 yards out in the 59th minute hit the right post and her shot in the 88th minute went a foot wide. SFA's Melissa Gaudet sent a ball with pace through traffic, but Aggies' goalkeeper Jordan Day was able to get a mitt on the ball to hold the Ladyjacks at bay.
After being outshot by the 7-1 margin early on, Texas A&M was able to hold the final shot margin 18-13 including 12-5 in the second half. The Aggies held a slim margin in shots-on-goal (6-4) while Stephen F. Austin owned a large lead in corner kicks (8-1) which it was unable to capitalize on.
Day made four saves in goal to push her school-record mark to 13, two shy of the SEC record of 15 set by South Carolina's Mollie Patton in 2009.
Lee made five saves for Stephen F. Austin.
The Aggies are now 14-2-2 all-time in NCAA first-round action and have advanced to the second round on 16 occasions. Texas A&M's 18 wins this season are tied for third-most in school history, trailing just the 2002 (20-5-1) and 1996 (19-4) campaigns.
The Aggies improved to 14-0 all-time against teams from the Southland Conference and have yielded just one goal against the league, which came in A&M's 2007 NCAA Championship first round game against SFA, a 4-1 win.