Sept. 19, 2009

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Junior forward Whitney Hooper scored two goals to lead the 13th-ranked Texas A&M soccer team to a 3-1 upset of undefeated and No. 2 Portland Friday night in front of 3,542 fans at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.

With the win the Aggies improved to 4-3-0 and snapped the Pilots' (7-1-0) seven-game winning streak. A&M also defeated its highest ranked opponent since downing No. 1 Texas, 2-0, in College Station on Oct. 12 2007. Hooper netted her second and third goals of the season, including the game-winner.

"It's nice to be winning again," said head coach G Guerrieri. "We've played a very difficult schedule, but we played those difficult games to get better and they helped us win this one today. Portland is a great team. They play with a great style, have great players, and are very well-disciplined and coached. It took a good effort by our players [to win] and it's nice that we could have a good performance and send them home with a loss."

The match started as a high-pressure game, with the Aggies' producing the several early opportunities. In the 10th minute, senior Amber Gnatzig intercepted pass and dished it off to junior Rachel Shipley at the top of the box where she blasted a shot that deflected off of a UP defender, went high into the air, and into the arms of the Kelsey Davis in goal.

Just three minutes later, A&M controlled the ball in its defensive third when sophomore Rachel Balaguer saw freshman Kim Castleberry making a run towards the goal on the right side and sent her a long pass. Castleberry quickly dribbled to the corner of the six-yard box before firing off a shot that bounced off the body of Davis for the Aggies' first corner kick.

The match started to turn in favor of A&M after substitutions late in the first half. Sophomore Jen Kmezich was in the game roughly two minutes before she took her first shot - a header off the bottom of the crossbar that hit the ground and crossed the goal line on a corner kick from sophomore Becca Herrera. The goal was not immediately recognized by the head official, but after a discussion with the assistant referee, the Aggies were awarded the goal and took a 1-0 lead.

Just before the half, sophomore Alyssa Mautz sent a through ball in front of Hooper on the run on the right side. The Houston, Texas, native blew by one defender, cut in, and finished across the goal in the left-side netting to give A&M a 2-0 lead going into the locker room.

A high-intensity first half was only amplified in the last 45 minutes of play as the Pilots' first shot of the second half was a goal by Keelin Winters. At 51:51 Portland was awarded a free kick just outside of the box near the end line. On the strike, Winters lined a header into the upper-90 from five yards to cut the Aggies' lead in half.

A&M never let down pressure and four minutes later, Shipley sent a ball in to Hooper from the top of the box. She then turned, beat a defender and put the ball in the back of the net to return the Aggies to a comfortable two-goal lead.

A&M fired off 21 shots - the most any team this season has tallied against the Pilots - while Portland managed 12. The Aggies doubled UP's shots on goal, 12-6, and forced Davis to make nine saves. Texas A&M also held the advantage in corner kicks, 8-7.

Hooper led the attack with six shots, while Castleberry and sophomore Bri Young added three shots each. Senior defender Emily Peterson tallied two shots on goal off of a corner kick and freshman Nora Skelton and Mautz each took two shots.

The Aggies' three goals are the most Portland has allowed since losing to UCLA on Nov. 30, 2007 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

A&M returns to the Aggie Soccer Stadium Sunday to take on Sam Houston State at 3 p.m.