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Photo by Elisa Schmitt, TexAgs
Texas A&M Soccer

Golden offensive performance: No. 14 Aggies dominate Kentucky, 6-1

September 27, 2019

No. 14 Texas A&M Aggies (8-1-2) earned a decisive 6-1 victory over the University of Kentucky Wildcats at Ellis Field on Thursday.

The Aggies were coming off three strong offensive performances against UTRGV, UNLV, and Mississippi State. With challenging SEC matchups in a deep conference ahead of them, the Aggies were hoping to extend their hot streak in their conference home opener against Kentucky.

With more than half of their roster made up of freshman, Kentucky’s young squad has shown their inexperience at times this season. The Wildcats started their season strong but have struggled to produce on offense, dropping their last three matches.

The Aggies looked dominant on offense right out of the gate. In the sixth minute, Jimena Lopez sent a high arching pass from deep left field towards a surging Ally Watt who took it in the goal box and outmaneuvered Kentucky’s goalkeeper for a score to secure the Aggies’ first goal of the night.

In the twenty-third minute, Ásdís Halldórsdótir, on a lateral from Jimena Lopez, sent a rocket into the back of the net to put the Aggies up 2-0.

In the forty-ninth minute, a deep pass from Jimena Lopez to Ally Watt helped get the team in position to strike again. Off a tap from Watt, midfielder Macie Kolb sent a hard shot to the bottom left side of the net. The shot bounced off the left goalpost and ricocheted in, passed a diving Kentucky goalkeeper to earn the Aggies’ third goal of the night.

Elisa Schmitt, TexAgs
Ásdís Halldórsdótir continued her goal scoring streak as she found the net for the third time in her last two matches.

With both of the A&M’s leading scorers dominating the Wildcats, the dynamic duo of Watt and Lopez continued to cause problems for Kentucky’s defense. In the sixty-first minute, Lopez sent a cross to the center of the goal box where Ally Watt tapped it in for her second goal of the night; the Aggies’ fourth.

Lopez appeared to have the Midas touch on Thursday, earning a career-high four assists on the Aggies’ six goals.

Despite a comfortable four-goal lead, the Aggies continued to press the Wildcats.

In the sixty-seventh minute, a corner kick taken by Grace Piper had A&M knocking on the door. Forward Taylor Ziemer took the touch from Piper and slid one in the bottom left corner of the goal, scoring the Aggies fifth goal of the night.

The Aggie defense, who had shutout eight of their first ten opponents, had a rare slip in the seventy-fourth minute of the match.

A deep shot from Wildcat defender Caroline Trout found Hannah Richardson, the Wildcats’ leading scorer. Richardson managed to slide one in behind Aggie goalkeeper Shantel Hutton who was caught in traffic.

Despite losing the shutout, the Aggies did not waver and continued to play aggressively.

In the seventy-seventh minute, a deep pass from Jenna Byers to freshman forward Ali Russell found the forward on the backline in a one-on-one matchup with a defender. Russell took an outstanding shot, but Kentucky’s goalkeeper managed to get a hand on it. Abby Grace Cooper was perfectly positioned to take the deflection and sent one through the back of the net to put the Aggies up 6-1.

With six scores tallied by five different players on the night, the Aggies’ versatility and depth on offense, particularly at the midfield position, was evident.

“When you’ve have Addie McCain, Taylor Ziemer, Cienna Arrieta, Grace Piper or Tera Ziemer coming in, it kind of keeps clicking all the way through.”
- Texas A&M head coach G Guerrieri

“I thought that our midfield was really clicking,” said A&M head coach G Guerrieri. “When you’ve have Addie McCain, Taylor Ziemer, Cienna Arrieta, Grace Piper or Tera Ziemer coming in, it kind of keeps clicking all the way through. Those five are interchangeable, and we can put them in a variety of situations. They’ve gotten better and better.

“Our ability to change and keep things moving because of the great depth we have — we feel like we have 16 starters on this team — we don’t feel that we’re locked into playing with one group of players. We can adjust based off situations, conditions, and the opponents. That’s clearly a big part of our success. In all the championships we have won, depth is always a key part of it.”

While a dominant win over a stout conference opponent is always a reason for celebration, Thursday’s victory was an especially meaningful one as it was the annual ‘Turn It Gold’ game which benefits cutting edge pediatric cancer research.

The match, which remembers those who have fought and lost their lives to terrible illnesses, was especially meaningful for the Aggie squad this season. The Aggies have honored a young A&M soccer fan, Gianna Cirella, who lost her life to sepsis last year by declaring her an honorary captain this season. Members of the team, such as forward Ally Watt, frequently display Gianna’s name on their person during matches, and head Coach G Guerrieri dons a wrist band with the words “#Gistrong” emblazoned on it.

The Aggies will be back in action when they head to Baton Rouge to take on the LSU Tigers on Sunday.

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Golden offensive performance: No. 14 Aggies dominate Kentucky, 6-1

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