Aug. 28, 2010

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M senior Alyssa Mautz scored the last three Aggie goals to push the No. 9 A&M soccer team to a 5-3 victory over No. 16 Virginia Tech on Friday night at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.

Mautz recorded her second career hat trick in front of 5,560 fans, the fourth-largest crowd in program history, to improve the Aggies to 2-1. The Hokies dropped their first match of the season and fell to 2-1 overall.

"The game pays back for those players that work hard and Alyssa brings a lot of energy and a strong work ethic to all of our training sessions," said A&M head coach G Guerrieri. "She's fun to coach. Two of her goals were just pure desire, hustle and athleticism, and she has each of those in abundance.

"It has also been great to have such a wonderful response from our fans to start the season. Having the Class of 2014 out here was fantastic. Hopefully we've gained some new fans that will continue to come out and support us."

It was Virginia Tech who got on the scoreboard first when Marika Gray set up Kelsey Billups in the 27th minute. Billups scored inside the far post from about six yards out.

It did not take A&M long to respond. Less than two minutes later, freshman Rachel Lenz powered a header past Tech goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts for her first career goal. The score came from eight yards on a free kick by junior Bri Young at midfield.

Four minutes ran off the clock and the Hokies were called for a hand ball in the penalty box, awarding a penalty kick to the Aggies. Senior Rachel Shipley buried the strike to put A&M up 2-1.

The Aggies kept the ball in their attacking third and scored after another free kick by Young just over two minutes later. Mautz came in behind the keeper and one-touched Young's serve into the back of the net to give A&M a 3-1 advantage.

With one minute left in the half, however, Gray scored on a header from nine yards to bring the Hokies within one tally, 3-2.

The Aggies came out after the 15-minute break and just three minutes into the second period, junior Merritt Mathias lined a shot towards the far post that Colpitts knocked out wide with a diving save. Senior Whitney Hooper gathered the ball and then put it at the feet of Mautz who unloaded her second scored from 22 yards into the far upper 90.

A&M held its lead with good possession for the next 23 minutes before taking down a Tech player in the box and giving the team a penalty kick. Jennifer Harvey's attempt was successful as the Hokies came knocking a second time.

It took Mautz only 40 seconds to answer as she slammed in her third goal on a rebound shot. Colpitts made a diving save on a strong strike by Hooper, who used her speed to blow past a defender and go 1v1 with the keeper, but Mautz was in perfect position to bury the rebound into an empty net.

"It was a great response by our team both times, said Guerrieri. "It showed good persistence by our team to continue to attack and not get our heads down."

Mautz and Mathias led the Aggies with seven shots each and helped force Colpitts to make 11 saves on the evening. As a team, A&M more than doubled Tech in shots, 25-12, and shots on goal, 16-6. The Aggies also held an 8-6 edge in corner kicks.

"Merritt is probably on every goalkeeper's highlight reel right now, because she has hit some balls that were screamers and they were going into corners before the keepers made some outstanding saves," commented Guerrieri.

In earlier action at the Aggieland Invitational, Long Beach State upset No. 21 Washington State, 2-1.