Aug. 22, 2010

Courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M senior Whitney Hooper scored twice to lead the No. 8 Aggie soccer team to a 3-0 shutout of St. John's on Sunday afternoon at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.

In front of 2,089 fans, Hooper netted the final two A&M goals, while senior Alyssa Mautz scored the game-winner in the 21st minute to give the Aggies (1-1-0) their first win of the 2010 season. St. John's fell to 0-2-0 with the loss.

"We were a lot better today against St. John's," said A&M head coach G Guerrieri. "We played with a lot more discipline and we wanted to posses the ball enough that they would have to chase us. We were able to get it done and 3-0 is a good result against a team that was in the NCAA tournament last year."

A&M dominated possession from the get-go and was able to quickly fire off a shot, just seconds into the match. Sophomore Beth West then put two strikes on frame from the top of the box, but right into the arms of the Red Storm goalkeeper, Kristin Russell.

It took the Aggies only until the 21st minute to get on the scoreboard as Mautz buried her second shot from 16 yards. At the top of the penalty area, junior Merritt Mathias played a perfect through ball to Mautz whose first touch drew the keeper out of the goal, and whose second touch put the Aggies up 1-0.

A&M continued to pressure through the first half and in the 32nd minute, freshman Rachel Lenz got on the end of a corner kick from junior Carly Wohlers. The defender from Round Rock, Texas, nodded a strong header that was saved by a St. John's defender on the line.

Coming back from the halftime break with a 1-0 lead, Hooper was substituted into the match in the 53rd minute. Almost immediately, the forward from Houston, Texas, took the ball to the end line and slotted a pass back to West in the six-yard box for a shot that was grabbed by Russell.

Ten minutes later, sophomore Lyndsey Gnatzig found Hooper with a long pass along the left flank. Hooper dribbled towards goal, waited for Russell to come out, and then made a move around her before calmly knocking the ball into the back of the net to give A&M a 2-0 lead.

The Aggies continued to create several scoring opportunities and rallied off three-straight chances in the 67th minute - two were from sophomore Nora Skelton and one was from Hooper.

In the 76th minute, West was taken down hard in the box, but her subsequent penalty kick was denied by Russell. A&M followed with a flurry of shots after a corner kick eight minutes later.

The pressure finally paid off for a third goal with only 11 second remaining in the match. Senior Amber Gnatzig sent a long diagonal pass to the feet of Hooper. Hooper then drew the keeper off the near post and netted her second goal of the afternoon from 15 yards.

"Hooper became much more dangerous in the second half," commented Guerrieri. "It was a nice ball by Amber to be able to find Whitney. We scored all three goals by getting in behind what was a pretty well-organized defense, and a very good goalkeeper."

A&M only allowed the Red Storm to take four shots, while firing off 27, 18 of which came in the second half. The Aggies held a 13-3 edge in shots on goal and a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks. West took a game-high five shots, including four on frame. Hooper took four shots, all of which were on goal.

Earlier in the day at the Aggie Soccer Stadium, No. 1 North Carolina defeated Michigan State, 3-0.

Texas A&M hosts the Aggieland Invitational Tournament next weekend welcoming No. 15 Virginia Tech, No. 21 Washington State and Long Beach State. Play begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27 and the Aggies take to the pitch at 8 p.m.