BRADENTON, FL -- Freshman Jennifer Kmezich scored two goals to lead the 15th-ranked Texas A&M soccer team to a 3-1 victory over Florida International in an exhibition match on Thursday at the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla.
The Aggies dominated possession of a contest that consisted of three periods – a full 45-minute half and two 30-minute periods. Kmezich netted the first goal of the contest three minutes into the second period and her second goal with 10 minutes remaining in the third period. Sophomore Rachel Shipley also scored for A&M.
“This is a good preseason step toward where we want to go as a team,” said A&M head coach G Guerrieri. “FIU posed some stiff defending and good organization that forced our players to get a little out of our comfort zone. That’s a great learning experience for our young team, and one we will grow from.”
The majority of the first period A&M kept the ball in its attacking third and outshot FIU 9-0. In the 11th minute, junior Emily Peterson made a key defensive stop to set up a scoring opportunity for the Aggies. The defender from Tulsa, Okla., tackled an FIU forward along the right flank to clear the ball to midfield. From 35 yards, senior Laura Grace Robinson sent a pass to junior Cydne Currie who fired a shot on the run that went just right of the goal.
Freshman Beth West came off the sideline in the 29th minute and less than 60 seconds later proved to be a scoring threat. The Centennial, Colo., native dribbled to the left side of the six-yard box and blasted a shot that a diving FIU keeper collected.
The Aggies came out fired up in the second period, netting their first goal three minutes into the half. Robinson received a cross in the six-yard box from Cydne Currie and volleyed it to Kmezich on the left side. The Larkspur, Colo., product then passed it into the goal and put A&M up 1-0.
Three minutes later, FIU got on the scoreboard on an own goal off of a corner kick.
The third period the ball was mainly at the Aggies’ feet as the midfield did a good job to break down FIU’s organization and create space for scoring opportunities.
The first chance came in the first two minutes as Peterson fought for possession in FIU’s penalty box and Cydne Currie crossed the ball from the left side to an unmarked Shipley. The native of Plano, Texas, tapped the ball into the back of the net and got A&M back on top 2-1.
A foul with 10 minutes remaining set up sophomore Alyssa Mautz with a free kick at 20 yards. The ball was picked up in the six-yard box by sophomore Inge Harding and knocked in by Kmezich for her second goal of the game.
A&M soccer opens the regular season against Rhode Island at the Aggie Soccer Stadium on Friday, Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
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