COLLEGE STATION - Senior forward Elisabeth Jones posted her first career hat-trick as the 2nd-ranked Texas A&M soccer team rolled past the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers 6-1 on Friday night at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
"All around a good business-like effort by the whole team,” A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. “All the healthy players were able to get out there and play and then with the circumstances that occurred in the conference with Texas losing and with Missouri losing. That wasn't any design of ours, we're just happy to have at least a share of the title waiting for us. Now we need to take care of business in our match on Sunday against a Texas Tech team that's really playing well."
With Missouri falling to Iowa State 1-0 and Texas dropping a 1-0 decision in Stillwater to Oklahoma State, the Aggies clinched at least a part of their fourth consecutive Big 12 regular season title.
Cydne Currie put A&M on top 1-0 heading into halftime. Currie and a UWM defender both went after a loose ball after a deflection, Currie managed to send a high bouncing ball over Panther keeper Erin Kane. Kane mistimed her jump as the ball slipped just under the crossbar.
Melissa Garey’s goal in the 48th minute would prove to be the game-winner as the senior captain received a cross from Currie who was deep on the right side near the goalline. Currie sent the pass into Garey who was tripped up about four yards out, from the ground; Garey sent a rocket into the back of the net past a diving Kane.
A&M’s lead would increase 3-0 much to the dismay of the UWM side, as a Panther defender headed the ball into the right side netting for an OWN goal in the 59th minute.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee did manage to fire 11 shots on the night and slip a goal past Aggie keeper Kristin Arnold in the 74th minute. Sarah Talbert and Erin Kreuser played a little give-and-go into Pam Shipway who lined the ball past Arnold for her fourth goal of the season.
Jones would put the game out of reach for the Panthers as the Lexington, Ky-native racked-up three goals in a short 10-minute span. The first goal was a quick pass from Amber Gnatzig to the left side where Jones was perched waiting to put away her second goal of the season. Jones’ second goal of the match was a long pass from freshman Kelly Dyer who replaced Arnold in goal. Dyer sent a booming ball deep over the midfield circle where Jones brought it under control, drawing Kane out of goal. Jones was able to chip the shot over Kane, giving the Aggies a 5-1 lead.
Jones iced the hat-trick driving home a pass on the right side of the box from Whitney Hooper who was near the endline.
"It was nice to see Elisabeth really do well there in the second half and get three goals in a span about 10 minutes," Guerrieri noted.
A&M held a 20-11 shot advantage and posted six corner kicks to the Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s three on the night.
With the victory the Aggies improved to 14-2-1 on the season, while the Panthers dropped to 11-4-3. A&M has two Big 12 Conference matches remaining against Texas Tech on Sunday and Baylor next Friday. With a win against Tech, the Aggies are the outright winners of their 10th Big 12 title in the league’s 12 seasons.
"You don't necessarily play a team from another conference and get to take a trophy home for it, unless it's in the NCAA tournament and we're not quite there yet,” Guerrieri said. “This was a good night all the way around. We were challenged. They were going to lay in and try and protect some spaces and we had to make some adjustments to get it done. We had a bit of a slow start but definitely a great finish."
The match against the Red Raiders is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
Shots by period 1 2 Total
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 6 5 11
Texas A&M 10 10 20
Corner kicks 1 2 Total
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 1 2 3
Texas A&M 1 5 6
Saves by period 1 2 Total
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 4 2 6
Texas A&M 3 1 4
Fouls 1 2 Total
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 0 5 5
Texas A&M 3 5 8
No. Time Team Goal scorer Assist
1. 40:48 TAMU Currie, Cydne (2) (unassisted)
2. 47:35 TAMU Garey, Melissa (6) Currie, Cydne
3. 58:38 TAMU OWN GOAL
4. 73:50 UWM SHIPWAY, Pam (4) TALBERT, Sarah
5. 74:50 TAMU Jones, Elisabeth (2) Gnatzig, Amber
6. 80:44 TAMU Jones, Elisabeth (3) Dyer, Kelly
7. 84:57 TAMU Jones, Elisabeth (4) Hooper, Whitney