UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The 3rd-ranked Texas A&M and the 15th-ranked Penn State soccer teams fought tooth and nail for 110 minutes to earn a 1-1 draw in front of 2,216 fans Jeffrey Field. It was the fourth largest crowd to watch a Nittany Lion soccer match.
“We feel like we let what would have been a good win slip through our fingers today,” A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. “To have come to Penn State and earned a victory on their home field when they were playing at their absolute best would have been a huge credit to our girls. Hats off to a very talented and deep Penn State team.”
A&M managed to get on the board first in the game’s 35th minute off a converted penalty kick by All-Big 12 performer, Paige Carmichael. The goal served as the senior’s fifth of her Aggie career.
In an extremely physical match, Whitney Hooper received a pass from Cydne Currie deep in Penn State territory and quickly dribbled into the penalty area where a Nittany Lion defender tackled the petite freshman earning A&M its second PK of the year.
A&M took a 1-0 lead into the lockerroom at the half, having forced keeper Alyssa Naeher to make six saves on eight shots.
The most dangerous scoring opportunity of the first half for Penn State came with just 5:47 left as Danielle Toney came crashing down the right flank blasting a shot towards the front right post but a leaping Kristin Arnold beat the ball over the goal for her fifth save of the game.
Both teams came out of the half even more fired up to gain control of the game. With the increase in intensity and speed of play came an increase in fouls on both sides. A&M ended with 15 while Penn State registered 14 fouls.
Katie Schoepfer, who netted the game-winner for Penn State on Friday, had the ball at her feet with an open lane to the goal with just under 12 minutes left in regulation but lifted her shot from about 15 yards out about two feet too high.
However, the sophomore forward would net the equalizer in the 86th minute. In a jumble of Nittany Lion attackers and Aggie defenders, Schoepfer came up with a loose ball and planted her shot in the upper right corner sending the game into overtime.
A&M had a chance to seal a victory when Hooper was once again tripped up in the 82nd minute, this time just outside the 18-yard box. Laura Grace Robinson took the free kick from dead on that would deflect off the Penn State defensive wall right back at her feet. Robinson’s second shot went just a few inches wide of the left post.
In less than a minute Ashlee Pistorius had two big opportunities to net the golden goal but her header in the 96th minute went just wide left and Naeher pounced on the second shot near the lower right post in the 97th minute to push the game into the second overtime.
The last chance for the Aggies to come way with the victory came with just 20 seconds left as Robinson headed a free kick into the arms of Naeher as the clock ran down to zero.
“Naeher made four game-saving saves especially there in the overtime,” Guerrieri added. “She made a couple of brilliant saves that would have been our insurance goals. We just have to do a little better job of sticking our chances.”
It was the second time in as many years the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie. Last year the same result was earned in College Station.
A&M returns home to the Aggie Soccer Stadium to host a pair of non-conference opponents in Tulsa and Rice. Friday’s match against the Golden Hurricane is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
“We come out of here with a win and a draw and we are all excited to head back home, to get on our own field and play in front of the 12th Man again,” Guerrieri ended.