Feb. 6, 2011

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Big 12 Champion Texas A&M soccer team swept the 18th Annual Texas A&M 7v7 Soccer Tournament Sunday at the Aggie Soccer Stadium. The Aggies defeated UTSA, 9-4, before downing Rice, 3-2 and Sam Houston State, 7-1.

Junior Merritt Mathias paced the Aggies to eight goals on the day. The striker from Birmingham, Ala., also dished out four assists in leading the Aggies' attack. Sophomore midfielder Chelsea Jones assisted four goals and contributed four of her own on the afternoon.

"It was a nice day for us," head coach G Guerrieri said. "I thought our play improved over the course of the three games, and I saw some things that we can build upon."

For the 7v7 tournament, the Aggie Soccer Stadium was split into two playing fields, going across the usual playing pitch. There was no offside rule and goalkeepers were not allowed to punt or dropkick the ball in the 40-minute game format. Other schools represented in the tournament were Houston, Prairie View A&M, and Houston Baptist.

In the opening match, the Aggies defeated UTSA, 9-4. Mathias scored a hat trick in the game and was joined on the scorers list by Jones, sophomore midfielder Raven Tatum and junior midfielder Megan Majewski. The Roadrunners are coming off of a Southland Conference Championship season, earning their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.

"Merritt and Chelsea had super performances today, setting up many great scoring chances for us and finishing off several nice goals themselves,' Guerrieri said. "These seven-a-side games give us a chance to get some good early season evaluations of our players. The games are fast-paced and exciting since you don't have to travel as far to be in scoring position."

The Aggies took off to a quick 2-0 lead over Rice behind two goals from Jones, with Mathias scoring the game winner to put A&M up, 3-1. Rice converted a penalty kick in the final minute of the match to close in on the score, but the Aggies were able to control possession of the ball for the final 47 seconds of the match, and secured a 3-2 victory.

In the final match of the day, the Aggies led 3-0 at halftime over SHSU, with two goals from Mathias and one from Jones. A&M came out in the second half with a change in formation, and over-ran the Bearkats behind two goals from sophomore Nora Skelton and a goal each from freshman Rachel Lenz and Majewski.

"It was a really pretty day, with temperatures near 70 degrees, Guerrieri said. "I think everyone had a good time as all seven of these college teams kicked off the non-traditional season."

The Aggies will be back on the field again Saturday, Feb. 12 when they host Stephen F. Austin at the Aggie Soccer Stadium for a 5 p.m. kickoff.

Results of all games:

Texas A&M 9 UTSA 4 Texas A&M 3 Rice 2 Texas A&M 7 Sam Houston 1 Sam Houston 0 Rice 4 HBU 3 Rice 2 HBU 3 Houston 4 UTSA 5 HBU 1 Sam Houston 2 Houston 4 Sam Houston 4 Prairie View A&M 2 HBU 5 Prairie View A&M 1 UTSA 7 Prairie View A&M 0