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Big Second Half Gives Aggies 4-1 Win Over Illinois State

August 31, 2014
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies used a dominant performance in the second half to register a 4-1 win over the Illinois State Redbirds at Ellis Field on Sunday afternoon.

The win gave the Aggies a 4-0-0 start a season for the first time since the 2003 campaign.

Allie Bailey gave the Maroon Militia something to crow about early in the contest. McKayla Paulson dumped a clearing pass to Kelley Monogue down the right side of the pitch. Monogue took two dribbles and then perfectly placed a diagonal pass over the Redbirds’ defense to Bailey on the left side of the six-yard box. Bailey chipped the ball past goalkeeper Aryn Newsom to give A&M a 1-0 lead 4:24 into the contest.

Just over a minute later, the chickens came home to roost following a defensive lapse by Texas A&M as the Redbirds scored an equalizer 5:33 into the match. After the Aggies were unable to clear the ball from the defensive third, Rachel Tejada gathered it for Illinois State and slotted a pass to Dagny Olson in the penalty box. Olson was clear of the A&M defense and had a one-on-one opportunity with netminder Renee McDermott, beating her to the left side to knot the game at 1-1

The ball migrated back-and-forth throughout the midfield for much of the remainder of the first half and the teams went into the intermission knotted at 1-1. The Maroon and White owned edges in shots (11-6) and shots-on-goal (5-1), but Illinois State held a slight advantage in corner kicks (5-4).

The Aggies’ offense went into ball hawking mode coming out of the locker room and it paid immediate dividends. Shea Groom controlled the ball at the top of the penalty box and tried to thread a pass through the Redbirds’ backline but it caromed off an Illinois State defender. Groom raced to the deflection and found herself unmarked at the penalty spot where she unleashed a missile into the back of the net, giving A&M a 2-1 advantage 1:35 into the second stanza.

The Maroon and White nestled into a comfortable 3-1 lead when Monogue struck for her fifth goal of the season in the 52nd minute. Running down the center of the pitch, Groom slotted a pass through two defenders, finding Monogue 15 yards from goal and the senior launched a shot at 12 yards out for the two-goal lead.

The vultures started circling in the waning moments of the contest. Bailey sent a corner kick from the left arc, sailing it over the Illinois State goalkeeper to Haley Pounds by the far post. Pounds sent it home with her head for her first career goal and the 4-1 lead with 20:55 remaining in the contest.

After allowing six shots in the first half, the Aggies’ defense clamped down after the intermission. The A&M backline caused the Redbirds to lay a goose egg on the scoreboard in the second half, allowing only one shot.

The Maroon and White owned decisive advantages in shots (18-7) and shots-on-goal (9-1) for the match and by the end of the contest A&M claimed the edge in corner kicks (6-5).

Monogue notched her 40th career goal, becoming just the fifth player in school history to reach the plateau. Monogue also ended the match with 97 career points, putting her three shy of becoming the eighth player in school history to reach the 100-point plateau.

It marked the fourth consecutive match that Groom has tallied a goal.

McDermott went the distance in goal for the Aggies to improve to 4-0-0 on the season.

Texas A&M returns to action next weekend as they travel to Tempe, Arizona to partake in Sun Devil Classic. The Aggies will face the Arizona Wildcats on Friday and the Arizona State Sun Devils on Sunday.


Head Coach G Guerrieri
On the match…
“I was really pleased with the way the team responded after halftime. We came out in the first few minutes of the game and score a really nice goal. But we came out and exerted a lot of energy in front of a large crowd on Friday night and I think some of us switched ‘off’ for a little while. Illinois State is a team you can’t do that against and they proved it with a really good goal. They (ISU) fought us hard all over the field. We did good to settle into the match and at halftime we talked about changes that needed to be made both strategically and mentally. I was pleased with how we responded and did those things.”

On the second half…
“We scored two really good goals in the flow of play early on and we ran a really took terrific corner kick to get Haley (Pounds) her first goal as an Aggie. We made a really good statement in the second half.”

Senior Forward Allie Bailey
On the match…
We know that every Sunday afternoon is going to be a battle, not only playing the second game of a weekend, but also with the Texas heat. I thought we did great responding in the second half after not playing our best first half. We dominated the second half.

On the difference in the second half…
I think it was a mentality change. We know that these games will matter in November. A tie or a loss now could really hurt us down the road. We all know that. We wanted to win.”

Senior Midfielder Shea Groom
On being the first Aggie team since 2003 to start 4-0…
It’s pretty special for us. Most of us didn’t know that was the case. We have had some really good teams that haven’t started 4-0. This is where we want to be. My first three years we always lost a game on opening weekend. We always started 1-1. So it was great to start 2-0 and that momentum carried into this weekend. This will pay dividends in the postseason. We want to play here in November for as long as we can.

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