IRVINE, California – No. 12 Texas A&M and UC Irvine played to a 0-0 draw in an exhibition game at Anteater Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Aggies were unable to claim the victory despite registering substantial advantages in shots (15-5), shots-on-goal (7-2) and corner kicks (10-3),
Despite a scoreless tie at the intermission, the Aggies dictated the terms of play in the first half with distinct margins in shots (12-5) and corner kicks (5-1).
The Aggies rattled off five shots in the first 11 minutes of the contest to turn the heat up early. It appeared as though Kelley Monogue notched a goal in the sixth minute on a header from 10 yards out on a perfect service from Karlie Mueller, but she was deemed offside, to wipe the tally off the board. A&M was whistled for offside infractions eight times in the game.
Shea Groom missed wide right on a shot in the seventh minute and had another shot in the ninth minute snuffed out by a keeper save. Monogue had a shot saved in the ninth minute and Allie Bailey sent a shot three feet high of the crossbar from the top of the penalty box in the 11th minute.
The Aggies’ best opportunity to score came in the 29th minute when Groom raced down the right side of the pitch and sent a cross past the UCI netminder Jennifer Randazzo to an unmarked Annie Kunz four yards out, but Kunz chipped the ball over the crossbar.
Texas A&M missed scoring on a pair of set pieces near the end of the first half. Kunz had an opportunity to score off a corner in the 28th minute, but it was unable to get through the scrum in front of goal. Monogue took a free kick from Meghan Streight and sent a shot in from 25 yards out in the 37th minute. Randazzo stopped Monogue’s shot, but it trickled away to the left of goal and Rachel Lenz came in to clean up the mess from four yards out but the shot hit the near post.
The Anteaters nearly offered up a goal in the 44th minute. Groom sent a cross in from the right corner of the penalty box, but it was redirected by a UCI defender and sent goalward. The ball caromed off the right post before being collected by the Anteater backline.
The Aggies kept the blitz coming to start the second half, but were once again unable to break the scoring seal. In the second minute of the half, Kunz sent a through ball for Groom to chase, but Randazzo beat her by a step to smother the attack. In the 57th minute Groom fired wide right on an open shot from 15 yards out.
Jordan Day and Renee McDermott combined on the shutout for the Aggies with Day making one save in the first 64 minutes of action and McDermott registering a stop in the final 26 minutes.
Randazzo went the distance in goal for the Anteaters, making seven saves in the shutout.
Kunz led the A&M attack with four shots, including three on goal. Groom and Monogue each tallied three shots.
Texas A&M returns to action on Saturday when the Aggies host the Maroon & White Game at Ellis Field. The intrasquad scrimmage is slated to start at 7:30 pm.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
Overall thoughts on the game: Obviously we play to win and 0-0 isn’t a win. But I was pleased with parts of the game, especially the first portions of both halves. We looked really good to start both halves, applying a lot of pressure and gave their defense a lot of trouble. We missed an open goal from three yards and we hit the posts a couple of times.
On UC Irvine’s play: I thought their goalie, Jennifer (Randazzo) did a great job for them. She’s played against us three times and has performed very bravely, making some great saves, and she did that again today.
On what the Aggies can take from the game: We’ll get a lot of good video out of this. We’ll get a lot of good things that we can show and teach, because we’ll have to be as good as we can be as quick as possible because we have Duke coming in next week. Being offside eight times sounds like a team that has only been training for a week, which is kind of where we are right now.
On the play of the Aggie defense: Our defense, starting with our two captains – Meghan (Streight) and Rachel (Lenz), is nails. For us to only give up five shots is good. I thought both of them were courageous in a lot of things that they did and they did a lot of good things when we were taking the ball forward. Leigh (Edwards) was solid today as was Karlie (Mueller). Both of them give us such a good dimension because they are such good all-around players and can flip the game from defense to offense for us going forward with control of the ball.
On the play of the freshmen who saw action, Ana Cruz and Liz Keester: For the new freshmen who got out there, I thought it was great for Ana to get out in Southern California and get some playing time in front of her friends and family. She gave us some good minutes in both halves. Liz (Keester) got herself in good scoring position on several occasions and really thought she was going to finish one of those. I think we’re going to see her finish a lot of those as the season progresses.
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