Nov. 12, 2010

Courtesy of Texas A&M

- The ninth-ranked Texas A&M soccer team (15-4-3) advanced to the NCAA second round in a 4-3 penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 draw with North Dakota State (12-5-6) Friday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in St. Paul, Minn.

Aggie goalkeeper Kelly Dyer's save during the shootout stopped the Bison in their three-goal streak to give A&M the advantage.

"We've been an excellent team in penalty kicks for a while," head coach G Guerrieri said. "When it comes down to penalty kicks, it's Dyer time. Kelly Dyer might be the best in the world at this type of situation. For us to be down late like we were and for her to make that save and change the momentum of the shootout and put that pressure back onto the Bison was a big deal."

Bison defender Marissa Wolfgram footed the first penalty kick of the shootout, passing Aggie goalkeeper Kelly Dyer for the first goal. A&M sophomore Mary Grace Schmidt stepped up next and hammered a shot that NDSU goalie Kalani Bertsch caught in a diving save.

North Dakota State's Michelle Gaffaney netted the next goal before senior Rachel Shipley put the Aggies on the board with a laser into the net. NDSU senior Quin Ryan passed Dyer with the next shot and brought the tally to 3-1 for the Bison.

A&M sophomore Catalina Clavijo rallied with a slam that hit the post and bounced past Bertsch for a second shootout goal for the Aggies. Dyer got a fist behind Holly Christian's ball and recorded her first save of the shootout.

Freshman Rachel Lenz followed Dyer's momentum and sent her kick confidently into the net. NDSU's Abbey Stratton's shot veered wide of the goal, and the score remained tied at 3-3. Junior Merritt Mathias finished off the PK shootout with a swift goal, giving the Aggies a 4-3 advantage to advance to the NCAA second round.

The first goal in regulation play came in the seventh minute. Senior Whitney Hooper dribbled hard through the attacking half and passed the ball off to Mathias.

Mathias clipped it to a wide-open senior Alyssa Mautz before she was brought down by a Bison defender in the box, drawing a foul and earning a penalty kick for the Aggies. Shipley's kick easily passed Bertsch for the first goal of the match.

In the 12th minute junior Rachael Balaguer sent a high laser from the right corner in to Mautz in the box, who headed a shot from close range into the hands of Bertsch. A minute later Mathias lined up for a free kick near midfield and forced Bertsch to make another save.

Hooper broke free from the defense and powered a kick from the top of the arch for a third shot on goal in six minutes. The Aggies finished the first half with a 4-0 shot on goal advantage.

In the second period junior Megan Majewski wasted no time with the ball, sending a shot sailing in from the left for a save less than two minutes into the half. She got another look at the goal with a bomb that slammed off of the left post in the 53rd minute.

A pressing A&M offense posed a serious threat five minutes later when Mathias stormed the box and forced a save before Mautz rebounded and fired off a shot. A Bison defender got her body on it for the block, but Hooper was ready with a second rebound and a third powerful kick that was also blocked.

In the 75th minute Ryan footed a high shot that flew into the goal just above senior goalkeeper Kristin Arnold's reach to tie the match at 1-1 through the end of the 90th minute. Arnold grabbed Ryan's next shot, in the 91st minute, to start off the first overtime period .

Shipley sent a corner kick into the box in the 98th minute that bounced around between the teams before Schmidt got her head on it. Bertsch was forced to make another save. The Aggies ended the match with a 9-4 shot on goal advantage, forcing eight saves.

The second overtime period ended with one shot on goal, a zinger by Shipley that hit the crossbar. The teams finished the match in a 1-1 draw.

No. 4 seed A&M will challenge the winner of the Minnesota/Creighton match in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Sunday at 1 p.m. at Robbie Stadium.