GAINESVILLE, Florida – The Texas A&M Aggies dropped a 2-0 decision to the No. 7 Florida Gators on Sunday afternoon at Pressly Stadium.
With the result, Florida and Texas A&M now share the top spot in the SEC standings with 24 points on 8-2-0 league ledgers. The squads have one match remaining in the regular-season and the Gators own the potential tie-breaker for the first seed in the SEC Tournament. The Aggies wrap up the regular-season on Thursday when they host the LSU Tigers in a 7 pm contest at Ellis Field. Florida closes out league play with a 5:30 pm contest at Georgia on Thursday.
Two other teams can capitalize if A&M and Florida both lose or tie their matches on Thursday. South Carolina is in third place with 22 points (7-2-1) and Kentucky ranks fourth with 21 points (7-3-0). The Gamecocks host the Wildcats in a 6 pm match in Columbia on Thursday.
The two top teams in the SEC played on an even keel for the first half. With both squads throwing up stonewalls on defense, A&M held a 5-3 advantage on shots and 2-1 edge in shots-on-goal. The Aggies controlled the possession for most of the first half and owned a 4-1 margin in corner kicks.
The Aggies were inches away from breaking the scoring seal on multiple occasions in the opening stanza. Shea Groom laced a pair of shots that were a foot left of goal in the first 15 minutes. Near the midway point of the first half, Leigh Edwards launched a shot from 25 yards out that was also a mere foot wide of the post. Heading into the intermission, Kelley Monogue and Groom both launched shots with pace that forced saves from Taylor Burke.
The Gators finally drew blood in the 51st minute of action. Savannah Jordan was able to break through a seam in the Aggies’ defense and took a one-on-one shot from 12 yards out. Jordan Day was able to make a save, but the carom went back to Jordan eight yards out and she was able to chip a looping shot that beat charging A&M defenders to the end line.
Florida (14-3-1) added an insurance goal in the 61st minute. It was again Jordan tallying the goal for the Gators. Defender Christen Westphal slotted a pass to Jordan into the left corner of the penalty box and Jordan was able to send a shot from 14 yards out to the right of a diving Day for the 2-0 advantage.
Texas A&M (13-4-1) nearly drew first blood in the 46th minute. Annie Kunz sent a shot in from eight yards out, but Burke made a diving post at the right post to keep the game scoreless.
A Kunz shot from 18 yards out grazed the outside of the right post in an effort to tie the match at 1-1.
Trailing 2-0, Kunz forced a save on a shot from 25 yards out and Allie Bailey was a step short of cleaning up the carom in the six-yard box.
With four minutes remaining, the Aggies nearly connected on a goal. Kristi Leonard placed a perfect lob pass from midfield over the Gators’ defense and into Bailey in the penalty box. Bailey slide a pass over to Groom near the penalty spot for a scoring opportunity against a disadvantaged netminder, but a Florida defender was able to get a foot on the shot, sending it left of the goal for a corner kick.
For the match, A&M held advantages in shots (15-12) and corner kicks (6-4), but the Gators owned the 7-5 edge in shots-on-goal.
Day made five saves in goal, including four in the second half. Burke made five saves in goal to post the shutout for Florida.
Monogue recorded five of A&M’s 15 shots, including two on frame. Groom launched four with one on-goal and Annie Kunz had three shots, forcing two saves by Burke.
Jordan accounted for seven of Florida’s 11 shots, including six of the Gators’ seven shots-on-goal.
The loss snapped an eight-match win streak for the Aggies and a four-match road win streak.
Texas A&M Quotes
Head Coach G Guerrieri
Overall thoughts: I thought that we created some decent scoring chances. We had a lot of looks on goal, but on the day Florida stuck their chances and we didn’t. We didn’t hit the target when we need to.
On the difference between the first and second half: Give a lot of credit to Florida. They came out played really well in the second half. They converted on two counterattacks. I thought that we played hard, but we didn’t keep possession of the ball enough in the second half to keep Florida defending.
On the opportunity to play for an SEC against LSU on Thursday: We’re excited that we have a chance to win an SEC championship at home on a Thursday night and hopefully the 12th Man responds with a big crowd to help us do it.