NASHVILLE, Tenn. - No. 9 Texas A&M Soccer wrapped up the SEC Western Division title and remained in the hunt for the SEC regular-season crown with a 4-0 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores on Sunday afternoon at VU Soccer Complex.
The Aggies win coupled with a 1-0 loss by Auburn against Arkansas gives A&M a 10-point lead over Auburn in the SEC Western Division standings with three matches remaining. Texas A&M (14-2-1, 8-1-1 SEC) improved to 25 points, remaining two points behind Florida who posted a 4-1 win over Mississippi State on Sunday.
Jordan Day went the distance in goal to become the first Aggie player to record double digits in the shutout column during a season. She now owns a school-record 10 shutouts on the season and 19 for her career. It marked the 11th shutout of the season for Texas A&M, one shy of the school mark of 12 set in 2006.
Annie Kunz had the quick draw for the Aggies, scoring a goal just 54 seconds into the contest. A&M was applying pressure from the opening kick and when the Commodores were unable to clear an attack Kunz collected the ball near the left elbow of the penalty box. She regrouped from 15 yards out and sent a rocket into the right side netting for the 1-0 lead.
The Aggies' offense continued flying high in the sixth minute. Lindsey Witz sent a diagonal cross into the box from 30 yards out. Kunz was unsuccessful getting a head on the ball, but the miss allowed the ball to settle at the feet of Beth West on the left side of the goal area. West sent in a shot from five yards out and Vanderbilt's starting netminder Alexa Levick was left in an unenviable possession and had no chance of a save.
In the 15th minute, Texas A&M continued its mastery on set pieces in league action. Jayne Eadie sent in a free kick 10 yards off the touchline from 35 yards out. With four Aggies crashing into the goal area, Kunz's head found the ball and she made easy work of it from five yards out, planting it into the back of the net to inflate the cushion to 3-0. The Aggies have scored on set pieces in all 10 of their SEC matches and have logged 14 set piece goals in conference play.
The Aggies' lead ballooned to 4-0 in the 51st minute of action. A deflection of an A&M cross bounced out to Leigh Edwards who sent a shot in from 25 yards out. The Commodores backup keeper Shannon Morrish was able to leap and get a mitt on it, but the ball bounced off the crossbar and hit the golden side the end line for the goal.
Texas A&M controlled the action for most of the game, owning a 19-3 edge in shots and 8-3 advantage in shots on goal.
The Aggies return to action on Friday when they host the Tennessee Volunteers in a 7 p.m. contest at Ellis Field.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On scoring two goals in the first six minutes: I was pleased with how were able to start right from the opening kickoff and establish possession. When our shooters are on we're a scary team to play against.
On playing so well on Sundays: I think it's a testament to the depth of our team. The players are tied on Sunday, but we have the ability to substitute more than most teams and keep our players a little fresher.
On registering the 11th shutout of the season: Our defense is something we've put a lot of emphasis on this year. Jordan (Day) has been outstanding and when Renee (McDermott) is in, she's been playing well.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Day
On setting the school single-season shutout mark: I think our defense is really good this year. It makes my job a lot easier. Like today, I only had to make one save, so I owe a lot of the credit to them. It's a team record.