COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Despite a healthy advantage in shots and shots-on-goal, the No. 9 Texas A&M Soccer team fell to the Tennessee Lady Vols, 1-0, at Ellis Field on Friday evening.
After a day of chaos on campus at Texas A&M, the top of the SEC standings saw chaos in the evening with the top three teams all losing. First-place Florida dropped a 1-0 decision at Alabama and third-place Missouri fell to Arkansas 2-1. With the loss, the Aggies (14-3-1, 8-2-1 SEC) remained two points behind Florida for the top spot and one point ahead of the Tigers for second place.
The Lady Vols scored at the 10 minute mark of the first half. C.C. Cobb sent a thru ball to Hannah Wilkinson who beat the Aggies’ defense to the right corner of the goal area and sent a low liner to the far post to beat A&M netminder Jordan Day, for the 1-0 advantage.
The Aggies spent the next 80 minutes peppering balls at the Tennessee goal, outshooting the Lady Vols 22-8 from that point on.
Texas A&M owned a 23-9 advantage in shots for the match, including an 11-4 edge in shots-on-goal. The Aggies, who had scored on at least one set piece in all 10 SEC games entering play, were unable to capitalize on a 10-6 edge in corner kicks and seven free kicks taken on the Lady Vols half of the pitch.
Tennessee (12-4-2, 7-3-1 SEC) got an outstanding performance from their goalkeeper Julie Eckel who was forced to make 11 saves.
The Aggies nearly knotted the game on several occasions. In the 22nd minute, Jayne Eadie offered up a corner kicks that allowed Shea Groom and Rachel Lenz to each take close-range shots, but Eckel and the defense held for Tennessee to keep Texas A&M off the board.
In the 31st minute, Annie Kunz sent in a laser from 20 yards that sent Eckel sprawling to her right for the save.
The Aggies kept up the assault in the second half, with 10 shots, but to no avail. A booming shot by Bianca Brinson in the 69th minute and a close-range header by Meghan Streight in the 82nd forced Eckel to make quality saves to keep the Lady Vols ahead. Kunz and Streight added headers with pace that just missed target.
Texas A&M returns to action on Sunday when the host the Georgia Bulldogs in a 1:30 p.m. contest at Ellis Field.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
Thoughts on the game: Tennessee got a shot on goal. We missed it. It went into the back of the net. We hit their goalkeeper. They put their goalkeeper in good position because we hit them 11 times. It was just one of those games, unfortunately. Now we have to turn our focus into getting ready for another tough one on Sunday.
On all the set-pieces: I thought Jayne was serving some great balls. They cleared four off the line. The goalkeeper punched a couple away. There were some good battles by their No. 22 who won a lot of headers for them. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to be a fair game, but Tennessee battled hard and found a way to win it.
On the mass substitution toward the end of the game: We made a sub at about 21 to try and give a breather to some of those people that were going to be in on the final push. The last 15-to-20 minutes we couldn’t keep the ball well enough to set ourselves up to put the ball in a dangerous position. It was really unfortunate. I feel for the girls. We have nothing against the effort our players put in. They played hard. We just lacked quality in our finishing tonight.
On the formation: We wanted them to have to deal with us. We thought our three could handle their two upfront. We thought our five could handle their four in the midfield and we thought our two would be a good matchup against their center backs. We created a ton of chances. On other days we would’ve finished with five goals. Today we didn’t.
On the lone-goal of the match: It was a well-played ball in and it went right under our goalkeeper. It skipped under Jordan. It’s not indicative on the season that Jordan’s had. She hit it hard and it beat her after she got it underneath her.
On the shots taken by A&M: We missed by an inch here and there. (Meghan) Streight had a clean header that just missed over the top. Kelley Monogue had a good hit in the first couple of minutes that just missed. There was another one toward the end that just missed. That’s soccer. Sometimes that happens. Give credit to Tennessee because they came out and played hard. Despite giving up 22 shots and 11 on goal they pitched a shutout on what is usually a pretty darn good attacking team.
On Jordan Day’s performance: Jordan’s had a great season. I know she’s probably disappointed on the one she missed. She usually makes a save on it. That’s just a fact on how great she’s played this season that you don’t expect that kind of stuff to happen. She’s a super-kid, first off. She’s a great player. Our teenagers didn’t finish today and Tennessee’s did. The bottom line is who hits the back of the net. That’s usually us, but tonight it wasn’t. That’s the second time we’ve been shutout in the last 18 games. We’ve got to get it out of our system and recover to play well on Sunday against Georgia.