STARKVILLE, Miss. – The No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies scored a pair of goals early in the match and hydroplaned to a 2-0 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs on a rain saturated pitch at MSU Soccer Field on Sunday afternoon.
Texas A&M improved to 11-1-1 overall and 5-0-1 in SEC play. With a loss by the Missouri Tigers (1-0 vs. Tennessee) on Sunday, Texas A&M became the last unbeaten team in league play. The Aggies own a seven-point lead over Auburn in the SEC Western Division standings and a one-point lead over Florida and Missouri in the overall SEC standings.
The Aggies pounced on the Bulldogs early, notching the first goal in the fifth minute of action. Jayne Eadie lined up a free kick from 22 yards out and launched a missile goalward. The ball ripped through the MSU wall 10 yards away deflecting off a Mississippi State defender and past the Bulldogs’ goalkeeper for the goal, staking A&M to a 1-0 lead. It marked the first career collegiate goal for Eadie and the sixth consecutive game that the Aggies have converted on a set piece for a goal.
The Maroon and White tacked on another goal early in the 12th minute. Annie Kunz collected the ball near the arc of the penalty box and approached goal. From 15 yards out, she distributed the ball to Allie Bailey on the right side of the goal area. Bailey one-timed a pass to Shea Groom standing unmarked five yards in front of the goal and she sent it back to the near post for the 2-0 lead with 78:57 remaining in the contest.
Texas A&M dictated play throughout the game with a 26-15 advantage in shots for the game, including 16-5 in the first half. The Aggies also owned a 9-5 edge in shots on goal and an 8-2 edge in corner kicks while nearly two inches of rain fell in Starkville.
The Aggies threatened to add to the lead on multiple occasions in the second half, but to no avail. In the 55th minute, Bailey had a one-on-one opportunity against the Bulldogs’ keeper. She launched a shot from 10 yards out but a diving Skylar Rosson was able to get a paw on it to prevent the goal. Eadie hit a free kick form 40 yards out that Rosson had to punch over the crossbar in the 66th minute. Eadie sent in a menacing shot from 25 yards out that sailed two feet over the crossbar in the 75th minute. Lyndsey Gnatzig made the final threat in the 82nd minute, hitting a shot from 35 yards out that Rosson also punched over the crossbar.
Mississippi State’s best chance to score came with 3:30 remaining in the second half. Jasmine Simmons ripped a shot from the right corner of the goal area, but Aggies’ netminder Jordan Day was up to the task knocking the ball out of bounds for a Bulldogs’ corner kick.
Day tallied her ninth shutout of the season and the 18th of her career. She made five saves on the afternoon.
Mississippi State fell to 7-5-1 overall and 0-5-1 in the SEC.
The Aggies return to action on Friday when they host the Alabama Crimson Tide in a 7 p.m. contest at Ellis Field.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On the game: We did a good job of getting the early lead and controlling the possession the rest of the game. We knew it would be hard for Mississippi State to muster an offense as it started raining harder. We didn’t want to make any mistakes they could take advantage of.
On the weekend: It was good to get four points on the road in these weather conditions. We have five home games and two road games left in league play, so we’re in an enviable spot in the overall standings with a one-point lead. We’re looking forward to big crowds for the two home games this weekend.
On scoring on set pieces each of the last six weeks: It something we work on quite a bit, so it’s good to see the work pay off. Some of your best scoring opportunities come from set pieces, so it’s good to take advantage of them.