OXFORD, Miss. – Texas A&M Soccer combined an opportunistic offensive effort with another strong defensive showing to post its fifth consecutive shutout, 4-0, against the Ole Miss Rebels on Sunday afternoon. It marks the first time in program history that the Aggies have notched five straight shutouts.
With the win, Texas A&M (8-1-0, 2-0-0 SEC) earned its seventh consecutive victory and moved alone into first place in the SEC Western Division standings with six points.
Entering the game the offense of previously undefeated Ole Miss (8-1-0, 1-1-0 SEC) was putting up prolific numbers, averaging 3.75 goals per game. The Aggies were able to silence the unstoppable Rebel force with solid goalkeeping play by Jordan Day and another strong effort by the backline of Lyndsey Gnatzig, Rachel Lenz, Jackie Tondl and Lindsey Witz.
Day made seven saves in goal for the Aggies. The defense held Mandy McCalla and Rafaelle Souza, who entered the game with a combined 18 goals, to just four shots on goal.
Texas A&M drew first blood early in the first half at the 6:39 mark. Meaghan Streight handled the ball at midfield and lobbed a pass to Annie Kunz who slipped past the Ole Miss defense. Kunz collected the ball form 30 yards out with no one between her and the goal except Rebels netminder Kelly McCormick. McCormick took the bait and charged off the line. When McCormick got 15 yards out, Kunz chipped a shot from 25 yards out that took one bounce in the goal area before crossing the line for the 1-0 lead.
The Aggies inflated the cushion to 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining in the first half. Streight picked up her second assist on a free kick from 40 yards out. She served the ball into the box with Shea Groom standing on the penalty spot. By the time the ball entered the penalty box Groom was able to work to 12 yards out where she headed the ball right of the goalkeeper for the 2-0 lead.
Texas A&M did not rest on its laurels in the second stanza. Seven minutes into the half, Witz snuffed out a Rebels’ attack and cleared the ball to start the counterattack. Kunz received the ball at midfield and dribbled down the right touch line. Kunz beat a defender before launching a shot from 25 yards out at the right corner of the penalty box. Her blast glanced off the right post before ruffling the back of the net for her second goal of the game and sixth of the season.
The A&M lead ballooned to 4-0 with 22:15 remaining in the game. Allie Bailey launched a shot from 10 yards out. The shot ricocheted back to Bailey who sent the carom into the back of the net for her third goal of the season.
The Aggies return to Ellis Field on Friday, Sept. 21, for a 7 p.m. game against South Carolina.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On the team recording five consecutive shutouts for the first time in program history: Wow. We’ve won a lot of games by shutouts. We’ve had some really strong defensive teams, so that’s quite an accomplishment. They fought hard for the shutout down the stretch, so it was nice to be able to finish it off.
On starting SEC play with two road wins: It’s exactly way we wanted to start. It wasn’t an easy accomplishment. We won two road games against two quality sides in two tough venues to earn wins in. We’ll take the six points and we’re excited to return home for two games next weekend.
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