COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Texas A&M All-American forward Ashlee Pistorius picked up her fifth career hat-trick as the Aggies (7-2-1, 1-1-0) earned a 5-1 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks (1-8-2, 0-1-1) on Sunday afternoon at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
"Both us and Kansas played long games on Friday night," A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. Especially after our game that was so physical, we were really beat up from the match in Columbia. Both teams I felt sleepwalked through the first half. Kansas made it really hard for us to attack and we kind of played into it. We didn't make ourselves too terribly dangerous, even though I think we outshot them pretty significantly in the first half, we didn't look dangerous enough to get it done."
A&M’s scoring drive began nearly 41 minutes into the game as sophomore midfielder Natalie Currie flawlessly curved a corner kick from the left side into the far right post giving the Aggies a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.
"It's a good thing on the goal on the corner kick from Natalie, that gives a little bit of an edge going into the second half.," Guerrieri noted. "We challenged our players at halftime to do a couple things. We made two tactical adjustments to kind of free them up a little bit so that they could go and play with more passion instead of concentrating and reading so much and adjusting for each other. I think when we did that it was almost like taking the shackles off and allowed for some of our players to really play with more intensity."
The Aggies continued their attack just as quickly as the second half began, scoring four more goals off just 11 shots.
Six minutes into the second period A&M tried to work the ball into the Jayhawk penalty area but had the ball booted out towards the right sideline, freshman forward Rachel Shipley gained possession of the ball and worked it back into Pistorius who was waiting just eight yards out on the left side of the box for her 10th goal in just 10 games, and what would prove to be the eventual gamewinner.
Laura Grace Robinson would factor into the scoring for the Aggies in the 65th minute as the junior midfielder took control of the ball in the midfield and sieved through the Kansas defense as she dribbled straight towards the goal firing off a shot from point blank range for her third goal of the season, putting A&M up 3-0.
Kansas countered just 30 seconds later as Kim Boyer and Monica Dolinsky quickly passed the ball from the middle to the right side back to Nicole Cauzillo in the middle of the Aggies’ penalty area. Cauzillo’s goal would be KU’s only goal of the game. Kansas managed just eight shots on the afternoon, four on frame as the Aggie restraining line held tough.
Pistorius would drive home her 11th and 12th goals of the season in the game’s 69th and 76th minutes. The first of the two came from Robinson who slid a through ball into Pistorius from the right flank. Pistorius dove into the ball, heading home the Aggies’ fourth goal of the match.
Pistorius’ third goal of the afternoon came off of her own rebounded ball. The senior launched a hard shot that ricocheted off the top of the crossbar. Pistorius then collected the loose ball and blasted it past Kansas keeper Colleen Quinn sealing the 5-1 win for A&M. The goal moved Pistorius within 11 of tying the Aggie career record for most goals, which is 79 held by Bryn Blalack.
"There were some great individual goals today. Laura Grace had a great run and combinations to get all the way through the defense and score a great goal," Guerrieri stated. "Then there is Pistorius, who nails another hat-trick. Ashlee is that special intangible for us. She's so smart, she's so tactically quick and skillful enough to get things done to keep us in the game and then when it comes time to scoring, she scores with the inside of the foot, she scores with the head, she gets on the end of things. She's a special player."
The five goals allowed by the Jayhawk defense was the most surrendered since the 2000 season.
The Aggies will hit the road for Oklahoma this week, facing the Oklahoma State Cowgirls on Thursday at 7 p.m. The match is set to be televised by the Fox Soccer Channel.
"A 5-1 win is just what the doctor ordered after losing a game on the road in the last 30 seconds against a really athletic and dynamite team in Missouri.," Guerrieri ended. "To be able to come back and get this is really good for us. Now we've got a short week to prepare for the national TV game on Thursday against Oklahoma State."
Shots by period 1 2 Total
Kansas 1 7 8
Texas A&M 9 11 20
Corner kicks 1 2 Total
Kansas 1 2 3
Texas A&M 4 0 4
Saves by period 1 2 Total
Kansas 1 4 5
Texas A&M 1 2 3
Fouls 1 2 Total
Kansas 2 8 10
Texas A&M 2 3 5