COLLEGE STATION -- The 5th-ranked Texas A&M soccer team opened its 2007 campaign with a victory, posting a 2-0 shutout over perennial Ivy League champion Dartmouth on Friday night at the Aggie Soccer Stadium under rainy and muggy skies.
All-American forward Ashlee Pistorius gave the Aggies a 1-0 lead in the first half, converting a penalty kick after a Big Green handball in the box, before sophomore Amber Gnatzig gave the crowd of 5,008 a reason to yell even louder.
"I thought tonight was really a good workman-like effort,” A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. “I was pleased that we were able to break down a very well organized defense and a team that played really hard.”
The Aggies came out strong and kept play in its attacking third for much of the first half, but A&M was only able to manage three shots in the first half, including Pistorius’ goal. In the second, Texas A&M out-shot its visitors 8-2, and extended the lead to two goals in 86th minute.
With the Aggies attacking, senior Allison Martino whipped her corner kick to the top of the area. Pistorius took the ball back to the goal and tried to turn on a pair of Dartmouth defenders, but the ball instead kicked up and hit a Big Green player in the hand. Referee John Lohr pointed to the penalty spot, and Pistorius stepped up and converted her first attempt of the season to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
Leading 1-0 at halftime, Texas A&M came out strong in the second and used strong play down the flanks to keep Dartmouth pinned back in its own defensive half. The Aggies finally broke through for a second goal at 85:09. Gnatzig dribbled down the right wing and fired a hard shot towards the right side of the goal. Skipping through the Big Green defense, the ball took an odd hop, finding the back of the net for Gnatzig’s first goal of the season, and sealing the Aggies’ 2-0 victory.
En route to her first shutout of her sophomore season, Kristin Arnold was forced to make just one save in the 82nd minute. Dartmouth’s Jenny Stone took the ball to her right, but a diving Arnold quickly wrapped up the ball, stifling any scoring opportunity the Big Green might have had.
“I thought Dartmouth did a great job of trying to condense spaces and keep it to where we weren't going to have any real open breaks,” Guerrieri ended. “It took some adjustments that we made to try to keep the ball, to be a little more patient in our attack. Luckily for me, our players are solid and made the changes and came out and did a good job.”
The Aggies return to action on Sunday as they face the College of Charleston Cougars at 7:30 p.m. at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.
Shots by period 1 2 Total
DARTW 3 2 5
TAMU 3 8 11
Corner kicks 1 2 Total
DARTW 1 1 2
TAMU 3 2 5
Saves by period 1 2 Total
DARTW 1 2 3
TAMU 0 1 1
Fouls 1 2 Total
DARTW 6 10 16
TAMU 3 3 6
No. Time Team Goal scorer Assist Description
1. 23:16 TAMU Pistorius, Ashlee (1) Penalty kick
2. 85:09 TAMU Gnatzig, Amber (1) (unassisted)