COLLEGE STATION - All-American forward Ashlee Pistorius logged her sixth career hat-trick as the 2nd-ranked Texas A&M soccer team beat the Baylor Lady Bears 4-0 in front of 3,524 fans on Senior Night at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
The win moves the Big 12 regular season champs to a 16-2-1 overall and 9-1-0 league record, while the loss ends Baylor’s season at 7-10-2 and 1-8-1 in league play.
The senior from Bloomington, Ill. put the Aggies on the board in the 25th minute as she intercepted the ball off a Baylor restart, dribbling through the backline; Pistorius took BU keeper Ashley Noah one-on-one, for the game-winner. It served as her Big 12-leading sixth game-winner of the season.
“Baylor really played well tonight,” A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. “We knew we were going to see a good match out of them because they came in here with nothing to lose. As the first half progressed, we were able to settle in and find our rhythm. Ashlee’s first goal sort of ignited us and got us through the first 45 minutes.”
The Aggie attack was relentless throughout the game as Baylor was forced to make save after save off the line. In the 35th minute Melissa Garey broke through the Lady Bear backline and launched a hard shot straight into the arms of Noah. A few minutes later Pistorius saw a shot ricocheted off the chest of Noah and cleared by a defender. Midfielder Amy Berend watched her shot lift a bit high and laced off the top of the crossbar back down for another clear by the Baylor defense.
A&M kept pounding its attack in the second half posting 16 shots, three of which, all belonging to Pistorius, a member of the MAC Herman Trophy watch list, would find the back of the net.
“In the second half we were able to make some tactical adjustments and hit the accelerator from that point on,” Guerrieri noted.
In the 53rd minute, Amber Gnatzig dribbled down the far right sideline and slotted a pass back into Pistorius who came crashing in on the six-yard box to log her 20th goal of the season.
Pistorius wasn’t finished scoring just yet as fellow senior Allison Martino contributed two assists to help Pistorius tie the A&M career record for goals scored (79). In the 76th minute Martino took the ball near the left endline, turning on a dime, Martino redirected the ball back towards Pistorius who chipped the shot past a diving Noah.
Ten minutes later Pistorius sent a quick give-and-go into Martino off a corner kick. Sprinting past Martino in front of the goalmouth, Pistorius sealed the 4-0 victory bouncing the ball off the close post into the far-side netting for her season-best 23rd goal of her senior campaign.
“Ashlee is a very special player,” Guerrieri said. “She is playing as well as any other college player I’ve seen in the nation this year. I am very pleased for her to be able to tie Bryn’s (Blalack) record for career goals on senior night.”
The four goals tonight matched Pistorius’ career-high as she netted four goals against Baylor in 2005.
A&M controlled the shot column posting 26 to Baylor’s eight. The Aggies forced Noah to make 10 saves while neither Kristin Arnold nor Kelly Dyer were required to post a save for A&M. The shutout was the Aggies’ 10th of the season.
The 19-game home winning-streak marks the second longest in Aggie Soccer Stadium history dating back to Sept. 20, 2006 when the Aggies posted a 9-0 win over the Sam Houston State Bearkats.
The Aggies will head the Big 12 Championship in San Antonio as the No. 1 seed and will begin play at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday against the No. 8 seed Iowa State Cyclones at the Blossom Soccer Complex.
Shots by period 1 2 Total
Baylor 5 3 8
Texas A&M 10 16 26
Corner kicks 1 2 Total
Baylor 2 0 2
Texas A&M 2 1 3
Saves by period 1 2 Total
Baylor 4 6 10
Texas A&M 0 0 0
Fouls 1 2 Total
Baylor 10 6 16
Texas A&M 5 9 14
No. Time Team Goal scorer Assist
1. 24:58 TAMU Pistorius, Ashlee (20) (unassisted)
2. 52:45 TAMU Pistorius, Ashlee (21) Gnatzig, Amber
3. 75:33 TAMU Pistorius, Ashlee (22) Martino, Allison
4. 86:34 TAMU Pistorius, Ashlee (23) Martino, Allison