CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The No. 3-seeded Texas A&M soccer team ended the season in the NCAA Second Round for the second-straight year after a 1-3 loss to Virginia Tech on Friday at Klöckner Stadium.
"Obviously I'm disappointed," head coach G Guerrieri said. "Virginia Tech played great. We knew that they were a strong side. We knew that they were a team that was going to battle. They came in wearing the underdog's clothing and basically they played great. Hats off to them, because they deserved to win tonight."
Freshman Meghan Streight had the Aggies' only goal of the match, a header inside the six-yard box in the 72nd minute. A&M (16-6-2) outshot Virginia Tech (14-7-1) but was unable to capitalize on any other chances.
The Aggies struggled to complete passes in the first half, but managed to keep a 7-to-3 shot advantage over the Hokies. At the end of the match, the Aggies had edged VT, 16-to-9 in shots and 6-to-5 in shots on frame.
Virginia Tech took a 2-0 first-half lead to top the Aggies going into halftime. A corner kick by Kelsey Loupee, VT's sixth of the half, in the 17th minute found the head of Brittany Popko in the six-yard box. Aggie goalkeeper Jordan Day jumped high to grab the ball but couldn't stop the shot. Day had grabbed a previous corner kick out of the air but stepped over the end line to create Loupee's set piece.
Fifteen minutes later, the Hokies secured a 2-0 lead. Jazmine Reeves took the ball to the end line on the right side of the goal. A cross to the penalty area was one-touched by Kelly Conheeney who sunk the ball in the back left corner of the net.
A&M had its first good possession of the match in the ninth minute. After several passes by the Aggies, senior Rachael Balaguer sent a shot wide to the near side.
Balaguer aided another close chance in the 23rd minute, slotting a pass to freshman Kelley Monogue at the top of the arc. Monogue fired a left-footed shot that skimmed wide of the right post.
Monogue attacked again with 11:38 left in the first half. The forward's shot from the top right corner of the 18-yard box went wide to the far side, but she gathered the ball a few minutes later on a lateral pass from freshman Annie Kunz and forced a save with a laser at 18 yards from goal.
The roles were reversed in the 41st minute when Monogue crossed a ball through three defenders to Kunz. Kunz passed a defender and went one-on-one with VT goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts but the keeper came out of the goal and Kunz was called offside.
With just 0:49 left in the first half, Kunz steered a free kick by Streight toward the goal and nutmegged a defender before blasting a shot from inside the 18-yard box. Colpitts was ready, however and grabbed the save as the game entered the half.
A&M looked more confident in the second half, creating several chances inside its attacking third. Less-than five minutes into the half, senior Bri Young chipped a free kick into the six-yard box from 30 yards but Colpitts collided with Aggie sophomore Rachel Lenz and emerged with the ball.
In the 59th minute junior Lyndsey Gnatzig sent a ball into the 18-yard box from midfield. Flanked by defenders, Monogue and junior Nora Skelton passed the ball between themselves several times to find a slot in the defense before freshman Katie Perry fired just high of the crossbar from 17 yards.
Senior Merritt Mathias also closely cleared the top of the goal two minutes later, taking a shot from 10 yards off of the touchline to the right of the goal.
In the 71st minute, the Hokies pulled further ahead to a 3-0 lead. After a missed clear by A&M, Katie Yensen crossed a ball from the left side of the goalmouth into the six-yard box where Shannon Mayrose headed it into the back of the net.
The Aggies retaliated just a minute later for the first time of the day. Junior Beth West took a corner kick that was cleared out, but A&M pushed the ball back toward the goal. West slotted a pass to Skelton, who chipped a ball high to Streight in the six-yard box. Streight headed her fourth goal of the season into the net to narrow the gap to 1-3.
West took another corner kick three minutes later, which was again cleared by a VT defender, but freshman Allie Bailey pounced on the ball and sent it back toward goal. Streight collected the pass and shot from close range to force a save.
Streight forced a second save in three minutes when she headed a West corner kick toward the goalmouth in the 78th minute.
The Aggies never gave up fighting through the end of the match keeping the ball in their offensive half in the final ten minutes. With just seconds left, Young took one last look at goal and blazed a shot a hair wide of the goalmouth from 16 yards as the clock ticked down.
The Big 12 Champion Aggies' season ends with the loss in the single-elimination NCAA Tournament. The Hokies will play the winner of the Virginia-Washington State match on Sunday at 3 p.m. CST in the NCAA Third Round. To learn more about Texas A&M soccer, log on to AggieAthletics.com.
"I think, in general, that the season was a super season," Guerrieri said. "I'm proud of the players for winning a conference championship our last time before we move on to the SEC. But the taste in our mouth right now is that we didn't win on the road in the NCAA Tournament.
"The future's very bright for us. I don't think we've seen the best of this team by a long shot and that's coming very soon."