CHAPEL HILL, N.C.- The 2nd-ranked Texas A&M soccer team (3-1-0) posted a goal in each half of play to shutout the Duke Blue Devils 2-0 on the final day of the Carolina Nike Classic at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“I thought today was a good win for us,” A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. “Duke is a solid team. This is now into their fifth or sixth game and it is the first time they have given up any goals and you can see why. They have a very solid defensive an excellent goalkeeper and are very well organized. Robbie Church does a super job of keeping their pieces together to where they are a very stylish and technical team. To be able to come into their backyard and get a 2-0 shutout especially after the very physical battle against Carolina is something our girls can really build on.”
Texas A&M controlled most of the play in the first half of the game, but it wasn’t until the thirty-fifth minute that the Aggies finally found the back of the net. Duke (2-1-3) committed a foul in the midfield that resulted in a free kick taken by Paige Carmichael. Carmichael sent the shot into the left side of the box where Ashlee Pistorius flicked the ball back across the goal to a streaking Laura Grace Robinson who registered her first goal of the season and what would prove to be the eventual game-winner.
Robinson’s goal was only the first goal allowed by a stingy Duke defense through five games.
A&M continued to press, keeping the ball in its attacking third of the field for much of the first half of play, outshooting the Blue Devils 12-3 and taking a 1-0 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.
Duke came out of halftime, trying to take control of the game’s tempo, but Melissa Garey answered their efforts in the 61st minutes and extended A&M’s lead to 2-0 with a just under 30 minutes left in regulation.
The senior captain from Gonazales, La. ran onto a pass from Allison Martino at the top of the Duke penalty area, but was tripped up by a Duke defender trying to set up her shot, but because the ball remained in her vicinity, the referee made no call. Garey quickly regained possession of the ball finding her way back to her feet, firing the ball just under the top of the crossbar past the Blue Devil keeper for her first goal of the year.
“I thought both goals today were great examples of the character and heart of our players,” Guerrieri continued. “Melissa Garey got in and they stopped her the first time, but her persistence and the never say die attitude of a fine young lady enabled her to finish it off. She really buried the shot, and I think that is indicative of what this team is made of. It’s not just about the first effort, but the second, third or even fourth effort that our players continue to put in. It’s what we hope will continue to take us further and further.”
Duke’s best chance to score on the Aggies came in the second half while trailing 0-2 when KayAnne Gummersall took the ball and hammered a first-time touch from about 25 yards out but A&M’s Kristin Arnold flew at full-extension to the left side of the goal and held the save, keeping her third shutout of the season in tact.
“Our girls are going to have to build up on this win,” Guerrieri ended. “We have to continue to get better everyday this week because we leave again for a very difficult road trip up to Happy Valley to play against a super team from West Virginia and a national power with Penn State.”
The Aggies four-game road swing continues next weekend at Penn State’s Jeffrey Field. A&M will take on West Virginia on Friday at 4 p.m.
Shots by period 1 2 Total
Duke 3 11 14
TAMU 12 5 17
Corner kicks 1 2 Total
Duke 0 5 5
TAMU 2 3 5
Saves by period 1 2 Total
Duke 4 2 6
TAMU 1 3 4
Fouls 1 2 Total
Duke 2 2 4
TAMU 3 1 4