ORANGE BEACH, Alabama – The No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Auburn Tigers in quarterfinal action of the 2013 SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament at the Orange Beach Sportsplex on Wednesday afternoon.
Junior Allie Bailey notched the only goal of the match in the 17th minute of action. Sophomore Karlie Mueller served as catalyst on the attack, sending a service into the box from distance. Junior Shea Groom collected the offering near the penalty spot and dumped a pass to the left to Bailey. From 12 yards out Bailey sent a low line drive that deflected off a Tiger defender at the top of the six-yard box and into the right side netting for the 1-0 lead.
The Aggies won a large majority of the 50-50 balls in the first half and dominated the possession. A&M owned a 14-1 edge in shots and a 5-0 advantage in shots-on-goal in the first half.
Auburn’s Alicen Wright made four saves in the first half, to keep the Aggies’ lead from swelling. She made a punch save over the crossbar on a shot from Kelley Monogue in the eighth minute that would have broken the scoring seal. On the ensuing corner kick, Wright made another save on a missile from Groom from eight yards out.
The Tigers’ best chance to score came with four minutes remaining in the match when Samantha Solaru unleashed a shot from 10 yards out, but Mueller made the defensive save on the backline to keep Auburn off the board.
Despite having fewer scoring chances in the second half, Texas A&M still owned an 8-6 edge in shots and a 2-1 margin in shots-on-goal.
The Aggies’ played smothering defense to record their seventh shutout of the season. A&M held Auburn without a shot-on-goal for the first 53 minutes of the match, the Tigers’ only SOG of the game. Day made one save to pick up her fifth shutout of the season and the 28th of her career. It marked Day’s 47th career victory, one shy of third place on the Maroon and White’s all-time list for goalkeepers.
The loss ended Auburn’s season with an 8-9-4 record and snapped a four-match win streak and seven-match unbeaten string.
With the win, the Aggies improved to 15-4-1 on the season. It marks the 10th consecutive season that A&M has reached the 15-win mark and the 19th time in the 21-year history of the program.
The Aggies, winners of 10 of their last 11 matches, play the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks at 6:30 pm on Friday. The Gamecocks defeated the Georgia Bulldogs, 4-0, on Wednesday.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On his team’s 1-0 win against Auburn in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals …
“Obviously, we’re excited. A win is what we came here to do. Auburn played hard and really gave us a hard time trying to find a way to try to break them down. I thought their goalkeeper [Alicen Wright] was outstanding. She made some big saves and their defense saved several balls off the line. They showed some heart and grit, and it was going to take something special. I thought our team did a good job with lots and lots of scoring opportunities that we just couldn’t quite put away with more than 22 shots and a lot of those on goal. We’ve got to be a little bit more patient in our build-up. We’ve got to make it to where we’re taking better decisions on when we’re going to finish off these chances, and then we’ve got to stick them. On Friday against either South Carolina or Georgia, both of them have very good goalkeepers and both of them are very athletic. We may not get as many chances, so you’ve got to take advantage of what you get.”
On Allie Bailey’s goal in the 17th minute for Texas A&M …
“A lot of what we do starts with our midfield – Shea [Groom] and Kelley [Monogue] in the midfield. They were able to find Allie Bailey and Allie is a very technical player, very skilled and very opportunistic. She saw the situation coming in, was able to get the ball there to hit it, took a little bit of a deflection and found the back of the net. If you talk to Allie, she will say she was lucky. I say that she is a smart kid and she made it happen for us.”
On Texas A&M goalkeeper Jordan Day …
“Jordan is a great kid, first off. The team rallies around her because they love her and they know that she has kept them into a lot of games over her three years at A&M. When we play against teams that are trying to serve balls and put balls into what would usually be really difficult situations for a lot of female goalkeepers, that’s where Jordan shines at her highest. Hopefully we can keep things moving. A shutout is really good, a win is the best. We know we have a tough one on Friday, so we’ll be looking at some recovery issues and enjoying our time here in Orange Beach, which we absolutely love. Being right on the coast is something that is really special for the players, so the reward is that they get to stick around a little longer here in paradise.”