COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The No. 3-seeded and 13th-ranked Texas A&M soccer team begins first round action of the 2008 NCAA Division I Championship against Texas State on Friday. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
The Aggies’ game follows another first round match between LSU and Washington at 4 p.m.
A&M (15-4-1) captured its 14th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid and the highest seeding of any of the six Big 12 schools selected. The Aggies also host the first and second rounds for the 14th-straight year.
A&M enters the weekend a determined team with plenty of rest after being knocked out of the Big 12 Tournament in the quarterfinals by Kansas.
The Aggies are led by sophomore Rachel Shipley with 16 points, including four goals and a team-leading eight assists. Three players, senior Laura Grace Robinson, sophomore Whitney Hooper and freshman Beth West, each have 15 points. Freshman defender Bri Young and Robinson lead the squad with six goals. Eight Aggies tally 11 points or more and nine have scored four goals or more. Freshman Becca Herrera and West are second on the team with seven assists each.
Sophomore Kelly Dyer recorded six shutouts in goal this season and has a 0.94 goals-against average and a .807 save percentage.
The winner of Friday’s match between LSU and Washington will face the winner of Texas A&M and Texas State in the second round on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
Free live video and live stats are available for all three matches this weekend on AggieAthletics.com.
All-session tickets are available to the public on AggieAthletics.com. Single day tickets go on sale Friday at the 12th Man Foundation Ticket Center’s Kyle Field and Reed Arena locations or on AggieAthletics.com. Additional ticket information is available by contacting the 12th Man Foundation Ticket Office at 1-888-99-AGGIE or 845-2311. Gates open one hour prior to kickoff.
Parking is available at Olsen Field lots 100J and 100K.
Courtesy of David Gardner’s Jewelers, the first 1,000 TAMU students with a valid student ID will receive free admission to the Aggies’ match on Friday against Texas State.
A&M IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Aggies are 20-13-0 in 14-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The run began in 1995, with the team making it as far as the Elite Eight on three occasions (2001, 2002, 2006). A&M has only been knocked out in the first round twice (1996, 1997).
SCOUTING TEXAS STATE
Texas State (13-3-4) earned an automatic bid to the tournament after defeated McNeese State, 2-1, for the Southland Conference Tournament title. Making its fourth postseason appearance in the program’s ten-year history, the Bobcats also claimed the SLC regular season crown. The team is on a 13-game unbeaten streak and was undefeated in league play, with a 7-0-2 record.
The Bobcats are led by Britney Curry with 27 points. She more than doubles any teammate with 12 goals. Three other players total at least 10 points. Look for Andrea Grifo to serve the ball as she leads the team with six assists. Mandi Mawyer is in goal with a 0.40 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
BOBCAT HEAD COACH KAT CONNER
Texas State head coach Kat Conner played for A&M head coach G Guerrieri at Hardin-Simmons University for two seasons where the team advanced to the NAIA Championship match in 1988. Conner was then an assistant coach under Guerrieri at A&M from 1993-98 before becoming head coach at Texas State in 1999.
VERSUS THE BOBCATS
A&M is 2-0 against Texas State, having faced the team in 2001 and 2004. The Aggies outscored the Bobcats 13-0 in the two contests.
No. 14 LSU (14-3-2) received an at-large bid for the second consecutive season and made it to the second round of the tournament last year in its first appearance. The Tigers were seeded second going into the Southeastern Conference Tournament and lost to Tennessee by a shootout in the semifinals.
Five players lead the Tiger attack with 17 points or more each, but Malorie Rutledge has a team-high 34 points. The junior leads the team with eight goals and 18 assists. Also with eight goals are Rachel Yepez and Roslyn Jones. Mo Isom is the LSU keeper with a 0.72 goals-against average and a .827 save percentage.
VERSUS THE TIGERS
The Aggies have never faced LSU in the regular season, but did play the Tigers this past spring and defeated them 1-0. Redshirt freshman Sarah Pierson put the ball in the upper-left 90 on a free kick from 25 yards.
No. 22 Washington (14-5-1) makes its ninth trip to the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid. The last time the team made it to the postseason was in 2004, when it went to the Elite Eight. The Huskies ended their regular season with wins over Arizona State and Arizona last week.
UW is led by Veronica Perez with 29 points, including a team-high 12 goals and five assists. Kate Deines (12 pts) and Melissa Beal (11 pts) are the only other Huskies with double-digit points. Alex Phillips and Kari Davidson split time in goal. Phillips has four shutouts, a 1.00 goals-against average and a .694 save percentage. Davidson adds two shutouts, a 1.58 goals-against average and a .667 save percentage.
VERSUS THE HUSKIES
A&M is 3-0 against Washington all time. The first meeting was in 2001 when the Aggies shutout the Huskies 1-0. The following season A&M defeated WU, 2-1, in overtime. The final meeting came in 2005 with a 6-0 blank of Washington by the Aggies.
MAUTZ MEMBER OF U.S. U-20 NATIONAL TEAM
Sophomore Alyssa Mautz scored four goals in the last two games and will travel to Chile for the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup as member of the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team. The team competes Nov. 19 – Dec. 7.
A&M boasts one of the youngest starting lineups in the nation as five freshmen and three sophomores are amidst the 11 starters on the field. The Aggies have just two seniors on the squad.
Five Aggies earned Big 12 postseason awards. Dyer was named to the All-Big 12 first team, junior Amber Gnatzig and Young were selected to the All-Big 12 second team and Herrera, West and Young earned spots on the Big 12 All-Newcomer team.
ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12
Four Aggies were named to the 2008 Academic All-Big 12 first team, including sophomore Inge Harding, junior Emily Peterson, Robinson and Shipley. First team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA.
COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Peterson and Robinson were also selected to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District Women’s Soccer Team. Peterson carries a 3.96 cumulative grade point average as a finance major and was named to the Academic-All District first team. Robinson earned academic honors on the second team with a 3.78 GPA as a finance and accounting double major in the Mays Business School Honors Program.
A&M is ranked ninth in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). UCLA, North Carolina, Stanford, Florida State and Portland are listed as the top five. The Aggies are the highest ranked Big 12 program. Oklahoma State (13th), Texas (16th) and Colorado (17th) are listed in the top 20.