COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The 11th-ranked Texas A&M soccer team surged for two late goals in a 3-1 victory over Indiana on Sunday afternoon at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
Sophomores Whitney Hooper and Rachel Shipley both scored in the 77th minute to release the Aggies (3-1-0) from a 1-1 deadlock with Indiana (1-2-0) in the second period. Senior Laura Grace Robinson put A&M on the scoreboard with a first-half header.
The Aggies dominated the offensive numbers outshooting the Hoosiers 22-4 and taking 12 corner kicks to Indiana’s one.
“We set this aside to make today a squad victory,” said head coach G Guerrieri. “We knew we were going to have to use a lot of players to really keep the level high. I was proud of all of them for getting it done. Wins like this are good for us and help our team to get better.”
Thirteen minutes into the first half, Indiana received a free kick in the left corner and sent the ball into the six-yard box, through the split legs of a Hoosier attacker. A shot by Christie Kotynski was then cleared off the line by freshman Bri Young to keep IU off the scoreboard.
Three minutes later, the Aggies were on the attack as junior Amber Gnatzig passed the ball to freshman Rachael Balaguer on the right side. The Austin, Texas, native floated a pass into the box where a streaking Robinson headed the ball past a diving Indiana keeper.
“Today was a really good game for LG,” said Guerrieri. “She scored the first goal, was great defensively, tracking people, winning balls at the midfield, and she really created a lot of good opportunities.”
Indiana moved the ball across the midfield again in the 26th minute. Devon Beach dribbled through traffic in the penalty box and fired a shot inside the far post to even the score at one apiece.
A&M held the majority of possession in the second half and kept the ball in its attacking third, but the game remained deadlocked through much of the period.
“We made a lot of substitutions in the first half to try to keep everyone fresh,” Guerrieri said. “In the second half we wanted to still try to make them chase and open them up.”
In the 75th minute sophomore Inge Harding entered the match for the first time. Less than a minute later, the Dripping Springs, Texas, product fired a shot from the penalty area that Indiana keeper Lindsay Campbell deflected out. Hooper collected the loose ball and found the back of the netting to tally her first goal of the season and move the Aggies into the lead.
In the same minute, Harding drew a foul in the six-yard box to set up a penalty kick by Shipley. The sophomore converted, giving the Aggies an insurance goal and a 3-1 lead.
“One thing we know with Whitney is she is going to stretch the defense,” Guerrieri said. “She did a real good job in the second half just playing to her strength. Inge is a very dangerous goal scorer and she did a very good job of finding her spaces and creating good chances.”
The Aggies return to action on Friday, Sept. 5, traveling to Blacksburg, Va., for the Hawthorn Suites Invitational hosted by Virginia Tech. A&M faces Virginia Tech Friday, followed by No. 20 Wake Forest on Sunday.
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