TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies snared a 3-0 win over the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in NCAA Championship second round action at the Seminole Soccer Complex on Friday afternoon.
With the win, the Aggies advanced to NCAA Championship Regional Quarterfinal round for the 11th time. A&M will be searching for a spot an NCAA Championship Regional Final for the fifth time.
Texas A&M (19-4-1) posted its 15th shutout of the season with a stifling defense that held Oakland to just three shots, including one in the first half. Jordan Day made one save in recording her 14th shutout of the year. Day, who already owns the school single-season mark, now stands just one shy of the SEC record set by South Carolina's Mollie Patton in 2009.
The 19 victories are tied for second in school history. A&M posted a school-record 20 wins in 2002 with a 20-5-1 mark. That season, the Aggies advanced in the NCAA Championship with a penalty kick shootout in the first round, which under the rules of time was recorded as a victory. The Maroon and White also notched 19 wins during their 1996 campaign (19-4).
The Aggies dictated the terms of play throughout the match. A&M held a marked advantage in all the offensive categories, including shots (12-3), shots-on-goal (5-1) and corner kicks (4-1).
The Aggies broke the scoring seal in the 15th minute of action. Dribbling down right center of the pitch, Shea Groom sent a through ball into the penalty box from 25 yards out. Kunz collected the ball 10 yards out and launched a shot from the right corner of the goal area that ricocheted off the far post before ruffling the back netting for the 1-0 lead. It was Kunz's team-leading 13th goal of the season.
Texas A&M inflated the cushion to 2-0 in the 33rd minute. Groom once again served as catalyst for the goal. The mercurial sophomore entered the penalty box from the left side and sent a low driving pass along the top of the six-yard goal area where she found the foot of Katie Perry. Oakland's netminder was able to offer little resistance as Perry sent the ball into the net with authority for her second goal of the season.
The Aggies nearly went into the intermission without yielding a shot from the Golden Grizzlies, but Oakland's Sarah Reynolds was able to send a header with a little bit of mustard on it goalward with 2:45 left in the first half, but solid positioning by Day made the save look easy and the teams went to the locker rooms with A&M owning the two-goal lead.
The play from Oakland (11-6-4) got chippy in the second half with 10 fouls, but the Aggies did not rest on their laurels, outshooting the Grizzlies 6-2 in the stanza.
In the waning moments of the match, the Aggies continued to look for goals. Jayne Eadie took a crossing pass from Bianca Brinson in the 77th minute and sent it a foot over the crossbar from 10 yards out. In the 81st minute, Kelley Monogue dribbled toward the right corner of the goal area and sent a shot in that was deflected by the Oakland goalkeeper just left of the far post.
Kelley Monogue dropped the anvil on the Grizzlies in the 85th minute with her 10th goal of the season. The sophomore dribbled through the Oakland defense to the top of the penalty box and sent in a driven ball into an upper 90 as the Aggies staked claim to a 3-0 lead.
The Aggies advanced to Sunday's NCAA Championship Regional Quarterfinal at 12 p.m. Central in Tallahassee. Texas A&M will play the winner of Friday evening's match between host Florida State and former Big 12 foe Texas Tech.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
Opening Statement: We're obviously very pleased to be moving on to the Sweet 16 again. I thought that Oakland has had a great season, thought they came out and played very well. In the first part of the game, they did a good job of establishing a little bit of possession, but as is the case a lot of times with our crew is once we get ourselves into a match and start stringing some things together then the game can kind of open up.
On the two goals in the first half: I thought that the first two goals in the first half were both set up through some really good passing and really good movement off the ball and good entry passes into the goal scorers and a committed finish from both Annie (Kunz) and from Katie (Perry).
On finishing out the game with full effort: We kept playing in the second half and scored again with a really, really nice goal by Kelley Monogue, really well set up and finished. I'm just feeling good. It was a really good week of training and it's nice when you see that type of week of practice translate into a quality performance across the board. We got a chance to play a lot of players.
Sophomore forward Shea Groom
On her two assists: I just think that in practice this week we really just prepared ourselves really well and were able to execute on the field in this game tonight. I just remember we had the ball on the other side of the field and we really worked in practice this week getting it to the other side and really opening the game up and once we're able to do that, I've been really working on getting my first touch to goal and Katie (Perry) was right there to finish and Annie (Kunz) finishes that every time. So it was a good execution.
Senior defender Lyndsey Gnatzig
On the Aggies registering their 15th shutout of the season: This week we've been working extra hard and just the whole season we've been working really hard. As a back unit, the girls have really pushed each other. Our forwards and our midfielders have pushed us to give us that extra edge so I just owe it all to my teammates for really pushing us that extra bit.