COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Junior Allie Bailey dribbled through three defenders and roofed a shot from 10 yards out to give the Texas A&M Aggies a 1-0 overtime win over the Utah Utes in NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship first round action at Ellis Field on Friday evening.
After receiving a pass from Shea Groom, Bailey split two defenders at the top of the penalty box and chipped the ball through the legs of third defender before lofting a shot over the head of Utes’ keeper Lindsey Luke for the golden goal, 2:19 into the first overtime period.
For the game, Texas A&M (18-4-1) owned the offensive edge in shots (20-12), shots-on-goal (9-3) and corner kicks (7-2), but the Aggies were unable to penetrate the Utes’ citadel until Bailey’s golden goal.
Jordan Day recorded her sixth shutout of the season and the 29th of her career.
Playing without their only four-year senior, Rachel Lenz, the Aggies’ defense counted on freshman Grace Wright on the backline as A&M held Utah to just one shot-on-goal in the first half and three for the contest. Wright, Leigh Edwards, Karlie Mueller and Meghan Streight all put in the full 92:19 on the backline in A&M’s eighth shutout of the season.
Luke put forth a heroic effort for Utah (10-5-6), making eight saves in the contest.
Texas A&M improved to 2-0-1 in overtime contests on the season. It marked the 11th overtime game of the year for Utah with the Utes finishing the season 3-2-6 in games that went into extra time.
Kelley Monogue paced the Aggies’ arsenal with five shots and Bailey (4), Groom (4), Bianca Brinson (3) and Meghan Streight all got multiple shots off. Bailey (3) and Brinson (2) were the lone Aggies’ with multiple shots on goal.
Ashton Hall led Utah with four shots in the contest, followed by Taylor Slattery with three and Kaycee Buckley with two. Hall, Slattery and Katie Rigby accounted for Utah’s three shots-on-goal.
The Aggies will return to action next Friday when they face the Texas Tech Red Raiders who toppled the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 3-0, in Lubbock. The match versus the Red Raiders will be played in Chapel Hill, North Carolina if the Tar Heels dispatch of the Liberty Flames in first round action tomorrow. If the Flames are victorious, the Aggies would host the match.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
Opening Statement: Howdy, we are obviously excited to get that result. We knew that they were a good solid team and that they were a hard team to break down and that proved to be the case. I thought that across the board, there were a lot of good performances by them. It took a special series there in the overtime for Allie (Bailey) to beat two players on the dribble inside the penalty area, come up on a big defender and slip it through her legs, and then come in and be able to push the ball over the upper corner, that’s a pretty special goal and that’s the kind of goal that it took to beat Utah tonight. I’m proud of our kids for the resiliency and we are excited about the opportunity to move on to the next round.
On Utah having overtime experience: We knew that they had been in overtime about 10 times this season and we didn’t break that news to the players before the game. It was in the back of my mind. In the second half of the second period the momentum was in our favor. They came out in the kick off in the overtime and had a little possession and some good play by Meghan (Streight) to keep them in check. Then we were able to get the ball forward and finally broke through. There was a lot of close misses by our players. I felt bad for Kelley Monogue because she had a terrific night and set herself up for a lot of things and was just off an inch or two here and there. She is a special player and she is going to break out and I pity the team she breaks out against because they are going to come in buckets.”
On Utah’s defense being harder to attack in second half: It’s just the way it broke down. I think a lot of that is by design from Utah; they are very good at pinching their back line, especially right on top of the box. They actually push people centrally and get you into a really crowded spot, that’s why the goal was pretty extraordinary. The way they play, there are really tight spaces. We talked about wanting to get around the corners. I think that Bianca Brinson had gotten around the corner four or five times in the first half and we thought that it would come again in the second half but I think Utah made good adjustments and they kept pushing us inside.
On moving forward: We have a lot of respect for Texas Tech. We have a great record against them and it’s always been a good rivalry. Playing on a neutral field at Chapel Hill will be a really tough assignment. They don’t give up many goals, which is similar to what we just saw. We have a very tough draw; to win the SEC regular season and then the SEC tournament and come up as a number four seed in the same group as the defending national champions, we kind of did a bit of a double take. To play the third place team in the PAC 12 in the first round after that and we now have to play one of the top two or three teams in the Big 12, its quite a tall order. But it’s the NCAA tournament and they name of the game is ‘win and advance’. You get now extra goals for style points you just have to find a way to win and that’s what this team has been doing now. They are 13-1 in the last 14 games. They find different ways of winning, it’s not always like what Allie (Bailey) did, a lot of times its set up in different situations. There are a lot of special players on this team and it’s a group of players that have really come together. As we got into SEC play and as we got rolling this team has found a way to really come together as really strong unit. A lot of that you can point to our captains like Meghan (Streight) and Shea Groom and Rachel Lenz. Rachel was out because of some headaches but hopefully she will be back next time and that’s exciting for all of us.”
Junior Allie Bailey
On the winning goal: It’s all kind of a blur right now. I think the ball came into the box and bounced off of one of their players and came to me. They crowd us a lot and I didn’t think anyone was open. I cut the ball, beat a couple players, and shot it.
On close the game: This game tonight was tough for us. I don’t think we expected it to be that close of a game. We have had to deal with a lot of games this season that we were down a goal but luckily this game we weren’t down a goal. We were in the game the whole time. After we won it was exciting but was a relief and now we just have to look at the next game.
On improvements needed before the next round: I think that we just need to be ourselves and focus on what we do best. We are really good at keeping the ball and possessing it and so I think it’s really important for us to have a good week of practice before we head out to Chapel Hill and just keep doing the things that we do well on our team.
Junior Meghan Streight
On staying focused: Making a point to keep the ball. We know that it’s not always going to work every single time and that’s part of the game, but it’s just playing our game and doing what we do best, which is keeping the ball and possessing it and as we do that we know it will come. As we continue to work up the field we know that it will come.
On improvements: We knew coming into this that it was going to be a battle. It’s the NCAA tournament, it’s do or die, every team is fighting for their life and their season. We were a little bit off tonight, we missed passes and touches and we just weren’t gelling very well. When that happens we just need to come together as a team and make it work and find a way to win and that’s what we did tonight.
On playing without Rachel Lenz: We definitely miss Rachel but we had Grace Wright back there and she did a great job. We hope Rachel will come back next week and play for her senior season.
Rich Manning – Utah Head Coach
Opening statement: A&M is a fantastic team. I was really impressed with their relentlessness in their attacking; they just come at you, and come at you, and come at you. Thought we had some opportunities in the counter, and we didn’t quite have the quality in the last pass, or the touch. But our kids played so well tonight, and did some really good things. I’m proud of our team, and these kids in how far they’ve come in four years, some four and a half years. From being a Mountain West team, and having this challenge thrown at them, we’ve gone to be in the PAC 12, and deal with these incredible opponents week in and week out, and see them build their confidence to be better and better, and more importantly, drag their teammates with them. To show them a new standard, and create a level of play and expectation that just wasn’t there.
On the senior class: I have them all here as a thanks to them, publicly for what they’ve done in our program, for the community, and the university in general.
On the talk between the end of regulation and start of overtime: It was our 11th overtime game. I don’t think I can tell them anything different from what they’ve heard already other than please hurry up and end this thing. I thought the last 20 minutes of regulation A&M did a great job of just coming at us. We were fumbling, trying to get a grip of the ball, just to relieve the pressure a bit. At the beginning of the overtime that was our big talk; let’s get a good grip on the ball. Actually, we had 2 or 3 good possessions and a few opportunities that just didn’t click. I was pleased with that.
On Allie Bailey’s goal: I didn’t see everything that happened. You just have to credit their relentlessness in front of the box to do that. If we’re keeping the ball, those opportunities don’t happen, and we pride ourselves on that. I thought it was a very even game overall. I was really pleased about the things we did against an experienced tournament team. Credit to Bailey for relentless play.”
On if he though going to overtime gave Utah an advantage: “I think this is only the second loss out of the 11 games that went overtime that we’ve played this season. I thought we were good in the overtime. It was just one of those plays. The ball bounced their way, and she had a great finish.”
Senior Allie Wisner
On what she though the team achieved: A lot. These people (the seniors) are leaving behind a legacy. We’re reaching dreams that people laughed at us for having. We were a Mountain West team and whatnot, back in the day. But this group fought hard to change things in the program, really get people on board with chasing those big dreams. I know we’re all happy to be here in this moment. I know everyone here is leaving behind a legacy for those young girls to keep coming back to the tournament. I am so proud of that team, our team, and am really excited to see the things they do in the future.