ORANGE BEACH, AL -- Playing in their first ever SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament, the No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies got a golden goal from Jayne Eadie in the 94th minute of action to register a 1-0 overtime win over the South Carolina Gamecocks at the Orange Beach Sportsplex on Wednesday afternoon.
The game’s lone goal came when the Aggies took advantage of a misplayed ball by a South Carolina defender. The ball caused a foot race between A&M’s Allie Bailey and Gamecocks’ netminder Sabrina D’Angelo at the top of the penalty box. Bailey arrived at the ball an instant before D’Angelo and put a toe on it that caused a fumble by D’Angelo. The ball caromed away from the collision and Eadie came in to clean up the mess for the end game, 3:16 into the first sudden death overtime period.
The triumph improved Texas A&M to 17-3-1 on the season, the most victories for the Aggies since recording back-to-back 18-win seasons in 2007 and 2008. The Maroon and White have gone to overtime in each of their last three matches, finding the golden goal in all three bouts.
It marked the 13th shutout on the year for the Aggies, setting a new school record. A&M’s previous record of 12 was set in 2006.
Jordan Day made two saves in goal to record the shutout for the Aggies. It is the 12th of the season for the sophomore, tying her for fourth on the SEC single-season list. She trails only South Carolina’s Mollie Patton who recorded 15 in 2009, and Vanderbilt’s Tyler Griffin and Kentucky’s Anne Ogundele who tallied 14 in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
The squads played on an even keel in the first half, playing to a 0-0 draw at the intermission. Both teams were unable to register a shot-on-goal and the shots were tied at 4-4. South Carolina held a 5-2 edge in corner kicks at halftime.
The Aggies avoided some glancing swipes from the Gamecocks’ gaffs early in the match. South Carolina got four corner kick opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the game. Twice South Carolina got shots off the opportunities but they were diffused by the Aggies’ defensive wall.
The Maroon and White had a pair of quality scoring opportunities last in the first half. Kelley Monogue launched a shot just about the penalty spot in the 34th minute, but it sailed just high-and-wide of the right upper ninety. In the 36th minute Bianca Brinson was 12 yards in front of goal and got her head on a cross, but it went two feet wide of the left post.
Annie Kunz almost prevented overtime early in the second half with a pair of scoring opportunities, but D’Angelo made a save on a blast from 15 yards out and another Kunz shot from 10 yards out sailed a foot over the crossbar.
South Carolina owned an advantages in shots (11-9) and corner kicks (7-4), but the Aggies owned the edge in shots-on-goal (3-2), including the only shot that mattered, Eadie’s walk-off tally.
The loss most likely ended the season for the Gamecocks who now own a 7-10-4 record on the year.
Texas A&M will face Auburn on Friday in the tournament semifinals at 4pm after the Tigers beat Tennessee 5-3 in a match that came down to penalty kicks.
The winner will advance to Sunday’s championship contest at 2:30 p.m.
Texas A&M Quotes
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On Texas A&M’s 1-0 overtime win against South Carolina in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals …
“It’s been an historical season all the way around with everything for Texas A&M and our university becoming a member of the SEC. It’s such a great conference; you can tell – South Carolina is the No. 10 seed and they’re a heck of a team. They battled hard and they really pushed us today. It’s nice to get this past us, it’s nice to be able to get our feet underneath us now that we’re in new surroundings and I’m happy that we get a chance to stay a couple more days in this beautiful town.”
On Texas A&M advancing to the SEC Tournament semifinals in its first year in the SEC …
“It means that we’ve got some great competitors and the goal there was a good indicator. You look at our captain who scores the goal in Jayne Eadie and she’s a hard, determined, skillful, but really confident player. Our team was confident that we were going to win the game, but we would have liked to have taken care of business a little bit earlier.”
Junior Midfielder Jayne Eadie
On her match-winning goal against South Carolina in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals …
“It’s exciting to get the win and move on to the next round.”
On Texas A&M in its first season competing in the SEC …
“We’ve got a great program going. The coaching staff is bringing in the best players and, as you can see, we are a good team and we’ve got depth. Anyone can step up and play and score.”
On the key to the 1-0 overtime victory against South Carolina …
“We just had to grit it out. South Carolina obviously is a physical team. They’re going to throw a tackle in everywhere, so we just have to match them and then get our quality on the ball, and obviously get forward.”