TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies dropped a 4-0 decision to the No. 7 Florida State Seminoles in an NCAA Championship Regional Semifinal match on Sunday afternoon at Seminole Soccer Complex.
The loss ended a banner season for the Aggies, who finished the year at 19-5-1. Texas A&M won its first-ever SEC Western Division title, earned a bid in its 18th consecutive NCAA Championship and advanceed to their 11th NCAA Championship Sweet Sixteen.
The 19 wins was one shy of the school-record 20 set by the 2002 squad during a 20-5-1 campaign. On the season, A&M set a school-record with 15 shutouts, including an SEC-record seven consecutive midway through the season. On the year, the Aggies defense yielded the fewest goals in school history with 16, despite the four yielded on Sunday. The old record was 17 goals allowed in 1997 (21 games) and 1999 (23 games).
The Aggies seniors, Catalina Clavijo, Lyndsey Gnatzig, Chelsea Jones, Beth West and Lindsey Witz, ended their careers with 65 wins.
For the game, the Seminoles owned an advantage in shots (13-9), but the squads entered the intermission with five shots apiece. Florida State also held slight edges in shots-on-goal (5-3) and corner kicks (5-3).
Florida State drew first blood in the 17th minute. Jessica Price dribbled the ball down to the end line at the edge of the penalty box and sent the ball to Isabella Schmid waiting just left of the penalty spot. Schmid one-timed a shot to the far netting for the 1-0 lead.
The Seminoles tacked on a second goal five minutes later. Ines Jaurena worked the ball to the end line at the edge of the goal area and sent a cross to the top of the six-yard box where Dagny Brynjarsdottir put a foot on it to the back of the net to give the Seminoles a 2-0 lead with 23:15 remaining in the first half.
The Aggies went on the offensive in the waning moments of the first half but were unable to break the scoring seal. A&M took four of the half's last five shots, including headers by Kelley Monogue and Shea Groom. Monogue's header forced the keeper to make a save and Groom's went just a few inches to the wrong side of the crossbar. Following a corner kick by Jayne Eadie, Chelsea Jones ripped a shot from 15 yards out that hit the crossbar in the 35th minute.
For the first 25 minutes of the second half, the Aggies were able to push numbers up without allowing an insurance goal by the Seminoles. Monogue and Eadie both got quality shots off that required Florida State's keeper to come up with a save, but the Maroon and White were unable to mount a rally
Florida State took advantage of a counterattack in the 71st minute to give the Seminoles an insurance goal. Brynjarsdottir trickled a ball down the center of the pitch through a pair of Aggies' defenders. Tiffany McCarty collected the offering and found herself in a one-on-one opportunity against Texas A&M netminder Jordan Day. McCarty was able to get around Day on the left and sent the ball goalward for the 3-0 advantage.
The Seminoles put the game out of reach in the 76th minute as Jamia Fields scored her third goal of the season on an assist from Carson Pickett.
Florida State advances to the NCAA Championship Regional Final where it hosts Notre Dame in a 7 p.m. match on Friday, Nov. 23 at Seminole Soccer Complex.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On the season: We're disappointed that they year comes to an end now. We obviously had bigger plans than to lose in the Sweet Sixteen, but I'm proud of the players for the year that they put in. We had the second-highest win total in program history, most shutouts ever in program history and progressively got stronger in a lot of things that we were struggling at in the beginning of the season. We had some great individual performances from back to front throughout the team. It's disappointing that we didn't win a national championship, but we're proud of our SEC West title and that's something we can build on as we go forward.
On the today's result: Unfortunately, 4-0 paints a different picture of the way the game was played or the actual match. They stuck their four best chances and we missed our best chances. They had some real quality in places that caused us problems. Three of their goals came off counterattacks from us being in attack and giving up the ball. Another goal that we were a little naïve on around the sideline. Hats off to them for finishing off their chances, but it definitely leaves a bit of a bitter taste in our mouth.
On the future of the underclassmen: This has been a very young team. Now as the majority of this team moves from underclassmen to upperclassmen, they've had some high level experiences to date and some things that we can definitely build upon. Today we also saw some examples of things that we've got to do better in the offseason to achieve our goals in 2013.
On how the game developed: As the game started I thought we had a good plan of putting them into places that we could control. But they scored four quality goals on four mistakes by us. A couple silly mistakes allowed them to roll us on the touch line when we should have just kicked the ball out of bounds. That allowed them to get in on our defense for the first goals. Then we were chasing the game. We went into halftime with as many chances as they had, but they had stuck theirs and we had missed ours. In the second half, we threw more numbers forward trying to get the offense going and they were able to produce two goals on the counterattack. We don't come to this tournament to make the score look close, we try to do things to get the win, so whether the final is 1-0 or 6-0 is lost in the mix. Our kids don't quite and you can see that today.
On Florida State: There was some outstanding quality of play by Florida State. If you're going to lose a match or run out of time in a match you want it to be against a team you have a lot of respect for. We have a lot of respect for the Seminoles and the way that they play and how they go about their business.
More to follow...