COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M sophomore Alyssa Mautz posted her first career hat-trick as the No. 9 Aggie Soccer team defeated Houston Baptist in front of 2,369 fans on Thursday evening at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
The final regular-season win improves the Aggies to 15-3-1, while the Huskies fall to 9-7-1.
Down 2-1 in the second half, Mautz connected the equalizer and the game-winner just two minutes apart. Her third goal of the match and fourth of the year was scored in the 79th minute from sophomore Whitney Hooper. The O’Fallon, Mo., native also added two assists for a career-high eight points, which ranks second for most points in a game by an individual.
Hooper netted two goals and contributed two assists for a career-high six points. Freshman Beth West put A&M on the scoreboard in the first half and assisted the final goal by Hooper for another career-best three points.
“It was good to be able to get another win, first and foremost,” said head coach G Guerrieri. “Houston Baptist made it very difficult. They came out and played hard, and took advantage of their chances. They tested us and it was great to see some of our key players step up. Fifteen wins is a good finish to the regular season and now we’ll give the team a couple days off and come back on Sunday to wind up the engine again for the Big 12 Tournament.”
The A&M attack was persistent throughout the game and got on the scoreboard in the 17th minute. Mautz found Hooper near the top of the box and the Houston, Texas, product dribbled into the penalty area and pushed the ball through two HBU defenders to the feet of West who quickly found the back of the net.
The Aggies dominated the first period as they outshot the Huskies 17-1 and enjoyed a 1-0 lead going into the 15-minute break.
In the second half, HBU connected on its third shot in the 51st minute as junior Ana Viscariello sent a cross to the near post where a sliding Isla Cameron got a touch on the ball to redirect it past the outstretched arm of sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Dyer.
The Huskies struck again in the 65th minute when Cameron found a streaking Felisha Gonzalez in the penalty box and the freshman chipped a shot into the back of the net to give HBU a 2-1 lead.
Just two minutes later A&M was back on the offensive side and earned one of its eight corner kicks of the night. Sophomore Rachel Shipley sent a bender to freshman Bri Young on the far side. The defender rocketed a shot off the near post and a crashing Mautz collected the rebound and struck the equalizer past the HBU keeper
In the next couple minutes, Mautz moved the Aggies back in the lead, 3-2, with a header into the back of the net from Shipley on a free kick.
The flurry of goals continued a minute later when Mautz headed down a ball in the penalty box. Hooper collected it and fired a shot past keeper Michelle Rich from nine yards.
A&M’s attack was relentless and in the 79th minute, Hooper dribbled inside the six-yard box near the end line and slotted a pass back into Mautz who touched the ball into the goal.
Less than a minute thereafter, Shipley found West on the left side. The Centennial, Colo., native dribbled deep into the penalty area and sent a pass across the goal to Hooper who one-timed it inside the back post to put the Aggies up 6-2
A&M tallied a season-high 44 shots, which ranks fourth all-time in the record book. The Aggies forced Rich to make 10 saves and Dyer recorded three saves in goal.
Next week Aggie soccer departs for the Big 12 Championship at the Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. The championship runs Nov. 5, 7 and 9 with the winner advancing in each match. The seeding for the tournament will be determined after Friday's final Big 12 games.
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