COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Chelsea Jones scored the golden goal in overtime to send Texas A&M Soccer to a 2-1 win over the Missouri Tigers in the regular-season finale on Thursday evening at Ellis Field.
Shea Groom sent the ball to Jones from the right side of the pitch. Jones received the offering at the top of the penalty arc. She settled the ball at her feet and when Missouri didn’t offer company, she took advantage of the opening and launched a shot to the left of a diving Tigers’ netminder for the end game with 3:58 remaining in the first overtime period.
With the win, Texas A&M (16-3-1, 10-2-1 SEC) secured the No. 2 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama. On Wednesday, Oct. 31, the Aggies will meet either Arkansas or South Carolina in a 12 p.m. quarterfinal match. The Razorbacks and Gamecocks face off at 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29 to open the tournament.
Missouri (13-6-0, 8-5-0 SEC) fell to the No. 5 seed and will face Kentucky at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
The squads played on an even keel through the first 68 minutes before Annie Kunz broke the tie with her 11th goal of the season. Beth West fed a pass in from the right corner of the penalty box to Kunz who got the offering in a full trot. When she got to the right corner of the goal area, Kunz sent in a low driving ball to the far netting to draw first blood, staking the Aggies to a 1-0 lead. The assist was the 28th of West’s career, moving her into eighth place on A&M’s all-time list.
With the Aggies nursing the one-goal lead, Missouri finally found the net in the 82nd minute. Haley Krentz sent in a hard cross from the right side which bounced through the Aggies’ defense which had been stout up to that point. Kaysie Clark received the ball in an enviable spot seven yards out and sent the ball past a disadvantaged Jordan Day in net to knot the game at 1-1.
Day made six saves in goal to pick up the win for Texas A&M. McKenzie Sauerwein went the distance between the pipes for Missouri with five saves.
The shots-on-goal were even at seven apiece and Missouri owned slight edges in shots (14-6) and corner kicks (5-3).
The 16 wins matches the Aggies’ win total from last season (16-6-2).
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On tonight’s game: Obviously we’re really excited to be able to pull out a win. I thought Missouri played great. That’s one of the best Missouri teams I’ve seen and I’ve seen all of the Missouri teams. They have a lot of good athletes all over the field. They’re special players. The goal that they scored was a good goal based on determination and the mark getting in the right position. I was real proud of our players because of the fight we put into it. We didn’t play a good first half. We were out-shot seven to two in the first half. In the second half we turned it around. We had a really nice goal on a great setup by Beth West. Then we didn’t let down when they scored a goal late. I thought the winning goal was as good of a goal we’ve scored all season. That goal had probably eight passes and was setup nicely by Shea Groom and then the nice calm finish from 20 yards out by Chelsea Jones. It was a really good exclamation point on our first regular season in the SEC.
On Florida winning earlier today: It wasn’t deflating at all. It’s still October. There’s still a lot of game to be played. Congratulations to Florida. They did what they had to do. They went 11-2. That’s a heck of a record in this conference. The tie that we had and not getting the win last Friday night really hurt us. It’s a 13 game season. There are a lot of ebbs and flows to it. I’ll be interested to see what the shakeout is for the seedings in Orange Beach.
On Chelsea Jones’ play: It’s not like she hasn’t been playing well. She has been playing well. She had a good week of training and that’s what our playing time comes down to. Who’s showing themselves in training that they can help us to win on a Thursday or Friday night. The good news for us is we’ve got a lot of players that can do that. Katie Perry contributed a lot tonight because she had a great week of practice. Beth West is getting stronger and stronger as the season goes along. I thought that the players of the game were our defenders. Meghan Streight and Rachel Lenz were outstanding back there. The balls they were winning. The determination and athleticism that she shows to shut down some big time attackers is amazing.
Sophomore forward Annie Kunz
On her goal: There goalie tended to play near post a lot so we worked on going to the far post so that’s where I put it.
On the Florida win tonight: We had heard they were winning when we went out to play, but you can only focus on yourself. You can’t worry about what everybody else is doing. The cards will fall where they may and we have another opportunity to win the SEC title in the tournament next week.