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A&M Hosts Two Defending League Champs this Weekend

August 28, 2014
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - For the second straight weekend, the Aggies host a pair of defending conference champions at Ellis Field, including No. 18 UCF on Friday evening at 8 pm.

The Aggies will be looking for their first 3-0-0 start since 2006 and their first 4-0-0 start since 2003.

On Friday evening A&M will be hosting the No. 18 UCF Knights for the annual Fish Camp Game. The Knights won their season-opener against Miami (Fla.) last Sunday, 2-1. The defending American Athletic Conference champion showed the ability to be dominant last season, putting together an 18-match unbeaten string on their way to a 16-3-4 campaign.

On Sunday, the Aggies host the Illinois State Redbirds in a 1:30 pm matinee. ISU won the Missouri Valley Conference and advanced to the NCAA Championship second round a year ago. This season the Redbirds rolled to a 2-0-0 start with impressive wins over Northern Illinois (4-1) and Central Michigan (5-1).

Season and individual tickets for the 2014 home season are now for sale. To purchase tickets, please contact the 12th Man Foundation Ticket Center at tickets.12thManFoundation.com, 979-845-2311 or toll free at 1-888-99-AGGIE. Tickets are also available in person beginning one hour before the match at Ellis Field.

Live stats for both matches this weekend are on 12thMan.com. Premium subscribers to the SEC Network can watch both games live via digital platforms on SEC Network +. Every match this season will feature free live audio on RadioAggieland and 12thMan.com.

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In the first regular-season poll, A&M is ranked No. 7 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire poll, up two spots from the preseason ranking. The Aggies are No. 7 in the Soccer America Top 25, No. 4 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 25 and No. 11 in the BennettRank poll. Defending national champion UCLA claimed the top spot in three of the polls with BennettRank slotting Florida State in the top spot.

The Aggies outshot the Ladyjacks 35-7 in the match, but were able to manage just a 1-0 margin on the scoreboard. It was enough to give A&M its first 2-0-0 start since the 2008 season. Shea Groom accounted for the lone goal of the match with 17:00 remaining in the first half. Renee McDermott made five saves in goal for her first shutout since the 2011 season.

With the 2014 No. 9 preseason ranking, A&M has been in the preseason national top 15 every year for 19 consecutive seasons. The Aggies have also consistently appeared in top 25 polls for the past 18 years.

Texas A&M owns a 194-29-5 (.862) all-time record at Ellis Field (formerly Aggie Soccer Stadium). The Maroon and White have called the field home since the 1994 season, playing the inaugural 1993 season at Old Tiger Field. Since 2005, the Aggies have registered a 94-13-5 (.862) mark on the friendly pitch.

The Aggies have been dominant in the Brazos Valley. Texas A&M owns a 201-29-5 (.866) all-time record in College Station. The win tally includes a 194-29-5 (.862) mark at Ellis Field from 1994-2013 and a 7-0 mark at Old Tiger Field in 1993. The Maroon and White are 94-13-5 (.862) at home since 2005.

With their 18-5-2 mark last season, the Aggies posted their 10th consecutive 15-win season dating back to 2004. In their first 21 seasons, the only two years the Aggies have not reached the 15-win plateau are 1998 (14-8) and 2003 (13-6-3). The school record for victories stands at 20, set in 2002 with a 20-5-1 mark.

The Aggies captured the 2013 SEC Tournament crown with three one-goal wins. A&M won its quarterfinal match with a 1-0 win over Auburn with Allie Bailey scoring the lone goal. In the semifinal, Liz Keester scored two goals in the first 12 minutes and the Aggies held off No. 9 South Carolina for a 2-1 win. In the championship, the Maroon and White trailed No. 5 Florida 1-0 at halftime, but Shea Groom tied the match in the 56th minute and Keester scored a golazo with 6:58 remaining to secure the win.

Since the 2008 season, the Aggies own a 20-0-5 mark against in-state rivals, including an 11-0-4 record against their former Big 12 Conference colleagues. Last season, A&M went 1-0-2 against Lone Star foe, topping UTSA, 1-0, in the second game of the season, tying Baylor, 0-0, in the sixth game, and tying Texas Tech, 2-2, in the NCAA Second Round, eventually advancing on penalty kicks. This year, the Aggies dropped Stephen F. Austin, 1-0, on August 24.

Over the last two seasons, the Aggies have played in 16 matches decided by one goal or less, going 12-2-2 in those matches. This season, A&M has posted one-goal wins over Dayton (4-3) and Stephen F. Austin (1-0).

In 2013, Texas A&M played 14 matches decided by one goal or less, posting a 10-2-2 record in those contests. Nine of the Aggies’ last 10 wins were decided by one goal, including three victories at the SEC Tournament and their NCAA Championship first round win against Utah. A&M’s only blemishes in close matches were 1-0 losses against Duke and Tennesee and a 0-0 draw against Baylor. The Aggies also played to a 2-2 draw against Texas Tech in the NCAA Championship second round, but advanced to the third round on penalty kicks.

The non-conference slate figures to be one of the toughest on record for the Aggies. All eight opponents finished in the Top 100 in the final RPI last season, with Arizona being the lowest rated team at 83. Marquette (6), UCF (13), Stephen F Austin (51), Arizona State (60), Illinois State (66), Florida Gulf Coast (67), Dayton (70) and Arizona finished last season with an average RPI of 52 compared to last year’s eight non-conference opponents owning an average RPI of 101.

Texas A&M’s non-conference schedule is challenging with six of the eight opponents having won their league’s regular-season title in 2013. The defending league champions on the non-conference slate include Dayton (Atlantic 10), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), UCF (The American), Illinois State (Missouri Valley), FGCU (Atlantic Sun) and Marquette (Big East). All six teams were selected to repeat as 2014 champions in their league’s respective preseason coaches’ polls. The two non-conference opponents who did not win conference titles last year are Arizona and Arizona State, who both finished in the middle of the powerhouse Pac 12 Conference that produced national champion UCLA.

Kelley Monogue enters play with 89 career points, good enough for ninth place on A&M’s career points list. Next on the list for Monogue is No. 8 Melissa Garey (91 - 2004-07). Ashlee Pistorius (2004-07) owns the school record with 194 points followed by Bryn Blalack (1994-197) with 192. During her healthiest campaign, Monogue logged 47 points as a freshman in 2011. Recovering from a knee injury in 2012, the McKinney, Texas native logged 20 points. Last season, she registered 17 points as she still felt the effects of the earlier ailment. She needs 20 points to crack the top five.

Kelley Monogue enters play with 37 career goals, tied with Heather Ragsdale (1999-2002) for sixth on A&M’s career goals list. The next target on her list is No. 5 Melissa Garey (39 - 2004-07). Ashlee Pistorius owns the school career record with 81 goals from 2004-07. Monogue was A&M’s leading goal scorer as a freshman with 19 tallies in 2011. She added 10 in 2012 and six in 2013.

Annie Kunz enters play with 32 career goals, tied with Yvette Okler (1993-96) for ninth place on the A&M all-time list. The next target on the list is Kristen Strutz (2000-03) who ranks eighth with 34 goals. Heather Ragsdale (1999-2002) and teammate Kelley Monogue are also within striking distance in sixth place with 37 goals. Kunz tallied 14 goals as a freshman and 13 as a sophomore. Hampered by an injury that held her out of four games and limited her to a reserve role most of the 2013 campaign, Kunz managed just five goals in 2013.

Texas A&M head coach G Guerrieri ranks among the top five in both winning percentage and victories among active Division I coaches. With a career record of 374-118-27 (.747), he ranks fifth in winning percentage (minimum five years as a Division I head coach) and victories, passing James Madison’s David Lombardo (373) and William & Mary’s John Daly (370) last season. Guerrieri ranks sixth all-time among NCAA Division I coaches in victories, trailing North Carolina’s Anson Dorrance (764), Connecticut’s Len Tsantiris (513), Florida’s Becky Burleigh (421), Santa Clara’s Jerry Smith (411) and Randy Waldrum (400), who left Notre Dame in the off-season to become head coach of the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League.

The Aggies are 3-0 all-time against UCF, but the squads have not played since 2000, when the Maroon and White scored a 5-0 victory in College Station. A&M also won, 1-0, in Orlando in 1995 and, 4-2, in College Station in 1993.

The Knights enter the fray ranked No. 18 in the NSCAA poll after a 1-0 start. The Knights’ season opener against FGCU was canceled last Friday due to inclement weather, but they posted a 2-1 win against Miami on Sunday. UCF features Lena Petermann who scored the game-winning goal for Germany as they toppled Nigeria in the championship match of the FIFA U20 World Cup earlier this month. Although A&M hasn’t faced UCF since 2000, the Maroon and White are familiar with a pair of the Knights’ starters. Senior Tatiana Coleman played for Auburn in 2012, notching a goal and an assist when the Tigers knocked A&M out of the SEC Tournament. Coleman scored both goals in UCF’s season-opening win against Miami. Nora Kervroedan played eight minutes for Florida State in third round match at the 2012 NCAA Championship.


Last season, UCF went 16-3-4 overall and won the AAC regular-season title with a 8-0-1 league ledger. The Knights had an 18-match unbeaten string before falling to St. John’s, 3-1, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Coleman was the Knights’ leading scorer last season with 28 points on 10 goals and eight assists. Kayla Adamek tallied 20 points on nine goals and two assists. Petermann notched 20 points on eight goals and four assists and Jennifer Martin logged 17 points with six goals and five assists. Connie Organ started in goal for the Knights in the opener, allowing one goal while making one save. Organ has made just two starts in her three years at UCF, but she has served as the Knights’ goalkeeper in postseason penalty shootouts each of the last two seasons.

Texas A&M is 19-4-1 all-time against the 10-team membership of the American Athletic Conference. Fifteen of the meetings came against SMU who the Aggies hold a 10-4-1 advantage against. A&M is 3-0-0 against both UCF and Tulsa and 1-0-0 against East Carolina, Houston and Memphis.

This marks the Aggies’ first meeting against the Redbirds.

The Redbirds are the defending Missouri Valley Conference regular-season champions, posting a 14-7-1 overall record and a 6-0-0 ledger in league play. Illinois State reached the second round of the NCAA Championship last season, edging Louisville in a penalty kick shootout after playing to a 1-1 draw through two overtime periods on the road. ISU eventually lost to Michigan, 3-0, in Ann Arbor. Leading scorers Rachel Tejada (42 points, 15 goals, 12 assists) and Hannah Leinert (38 points, 16 goals, six assists) return. The Redbirds offense was relentless the opening weekend, scoring a 4-1 win over Northern Illinois and a 5-1 victory over Central Michigan. Leinert and Paige Jarsombeck each tallied two goals in the opening weekend for Illinois State. Aryn Newsom started both matches in goal for the Redbirds, recording four saves and allowing just one goal in 158 minutes, a 0.57 goals-against average.

The Aggies are 3-0-0 all-time against the current seven-team membership of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Maroon and White are 2-0 against Loyola (Ill.) and 1-0 against Drake. Texas A&M’s meeting against a MVC school came in 2011 when the Aggies toppled Drake, 6-1. Texas A&M also beat Loyola-Chicago in 2011, 5-0.

The Aggies return 255 of their 275 starts on the pitch from 2013 (92.7 percent). All 20 starts missing from a year ago belong to Rachel Lenz. The Round Rock product started 20 games on the backline and added one goal and one assist.

The Aggies welcome four freshmen, in Mikaela Harvey (Liberty Hill, Texas), Stephanie Malherbe (Temecula, Calif.), McKayla Paulson (Mansfield, Texas) and Haley Pounds (Spring, Texas). Harvey, Malherbe and Pounds enrolled in January and took part in the Aggies’ spring practices. Harvey and Paulson both started the first two matches for the Aggies. Pounds started last Sunday’s match against Stephen F. Austin. Malherbe led the Aggies in minutes off the bench in both matches this season.

The Aggies sport one of the most impactful senior classes to ever grace a collegiate soccer field with Allie Bailey, Bianca Brinson, Jordan Day, Leigh Edwards, Shea Groom, Annie Kunz, Renee McDermott, Kelley Monogue and Meghan Streight. Texas A&M’s nine seniors account for 405 of the possible 814 starts over the last three seasons, a rate of 49.8 percent. The tally includes 90 of 264 starts (.341) in their freshman campaign of 2011, 138 of 275 starts (.502) in 2012 and 177 of 275 starts (.643) in 2013.

The corps of seven field players has served to deliver a bulk of the payload the last four seasons, accounting for 135 of the 185 goals (.730). This season, the seniors have scored all five goals. As freshmen they scored 52 of A&M’s 76 goals (.684) and accounted for 37 of 48 (.771) in 2012 and 41 of 56 (.732) in 2013. The class has registered 84 of the Aggies’ 184 assists (.457), with the most impactful year coming last season with 29 of 48 assists (.604). The point tally for their career stands at 354 of the Maroon and White’s 554 (.639).

Day and McDermott have combined to play all but 17 minutes in goal the last four seasons, accounting for all 76 starts.

At 2-0-0, the Aggies are off to their best two-match start since 2008. Each of the last five campaigns started with 1-1-0 marks. A&M is looking for its first 3-0-0 start since 2006 and first 4-0-0 start since 2003.

The Aggies hit the road for the first time next weekend as they travel to Tempe, Arizona to participate in the Sun Devil Classic. Texas A&M plays Arizona on Friday and Arizona State on Sunday.

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