Nov. 14, 2010

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 9 Texas A&M soccer team fell to Minnesota, 2-0, and ended the 2010 season in the NCAA second round Sunday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in St. Paul, Minn.

Minnesota's Tamara Strahota scored the first goal of the match, heading Kylie Kallman's corner kick into the right side netting. Aggie goalkeeper, senior Kristin Arnold got a glove on it but couldn't stop the shot.

"I thought Minnesota did great," said head coach G Guerrieri. "They played great with a great opportunity to play at home and they turned their chances into goals. Unfortunately we didn't. We were clearly fish out of water in this environment."

The Aggies got their first offensive look of the game in the 17th minute when senior Rachel Shipley stepped into the corner and sent a kick into the top of the six where senior Alyssa Mautz made contact with a header, putting the ball just over the crossbar.

Arnold had a big presence in goal for A&M, posting two crucial saves early in the match. The six-foot-tall goalkeeper used her height in the third minute when Minnesota's Molly Rouse punted a shot from high in the attacking half. Arnold punched the ball up over the goal for her first save of the game. A corner kick by Kallman followed, curving into the goal where Arnold again parried it out.

Four minutes later the Centennial, Colo., native posted a second save when Strahota's free kick from the left upper corner of the attacking third threatened the goal. Arnold grabbed the kick out of the air and punted it downfield.

She earned a third save in the 21st minute on a shot by Minnesota's Molly Rouse from the top right side of the box. Arnold dove to her left to stop the ball as it skid toward the frame. She added an easy catch in the 40th on a floating shot by the Gophers' Olivia Bagnall.

Minnesota made one last goal attempt with 2:35 left in the first period, a kick by Julie Rezac that Arnold grabbed out of the air for her fifth and final save of the half.

Trailing 1-0 at the beginning of the second half, the Aggies entered the field with defensive intensity. Sophomore Lyndsey Gnatzig was deep in the defensive third for A&M and blocked a shot by Katie Bethke in the 47th minute.

Senior Whitney Hooper dribbled towards the goal in a dead sprint in the 55th minute, passing defenders on the way, but slipped on the wet surface on her way in to the goal.

Junior Megan Majewski powered a free kick from the central third, a laser that went just wide of the near post. Shipley stepped up less than a minute later, slamming a kick from just outside of the six. The shot was tapped by a defender and flew just wide of the frame on the far side.

Minnesota's Steph Brandt made a fast break for the A&M goal in the 65th minute, but freshman defender Rachel Lenz was there, tangling with the Gopher forward and making a tackle just before Brandt's shot that gave Arnold an easy save.

Brandt attacked again two minutes later and was again stopped by the Aggie defense when junior Rachael Balaguer blocked the kick and cleared it into the A&M attacking half.

Arnold made a diving save in the 76th minute when Bethke took a shot from point blank. Bethke garnered the rebound and bounced a shot into the net from four yards for the last goal of the match.

The Aggies posted several more offensive attacks, rallying from a 1-11 shot deficit in the first half to 14 shots with seven on frame at the end of the match. The team was unable to even the score and the match ended with a 2-0 loss for Texas A&M.

With snow showers all day the previous day, grounds crews cleared 82,000 cubic feet of accumulated precipitation in preparation for the 34-degree match.

"We hope that we'll be able to come back and play in the tournament next year," Guerrieri said. "It's tough to play a really good team like Minnesota in such foreign conditions to us - it's taking a team and putting them on roller skates. I thought Minnesota did great. They used their home field advantage exceptionally well."

Minnesota will advance to the Sweet 16 and face Georgetown at a to-be-determined site next weekend.