Aggies Blank Kentucky, 3-0, to Open SEC Play
LEXINGTON, Kentucky – The No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies delivered a bruising 3-0 shutout victory over the Kentucky Wildcats in Friday night’s SEC opener at Bell Soccer Complex.
Kenna Caldwell was brilliant in goal, making seven saves to register the clean sheet for the Maroon & White.
Maile Hayes tallied a goal in her fourth consecutive match as her icebreaker in the 17th minute was her fifth tally in the last four contests.
Makhiya McDonald notched the first goal of her career in the waning moments of the first half as the Maroon & White’s lead ballooned to three goals.
The Aggies stormed out to a 3-0 advantage in the first half making the most of their five shots. Taylor Pounds scored the middle goal in the stanza scoring A&M’s first penalty kick of the season.
The Wildcats owned the edges in shots (7-5) and shots-on-goal (4-3), but most of Kentucky’s first-half shots were from distance and A&M keeper Kenna Caldwell was up to the task with four saves in the opening act.
For the match, a frantic Kentucky squad owned the edge in shots (14-8) and shots-on-goal (7-3). Corner kicks (3-3) and fouls (11-11) were equal.
The Maroon & White continued their dominance over the Wildcats, improving to 8-0-1 all-time, including seven consecutive victories. Texas A&M has outscored Kentucky 13-2 in the last three meetings.
The Aggies improved to 5-2-1 on the season and 1-0-0 in the SEC. Kentucky dropped to 5-2-2 overall and 0-1-0 in league play.
17′ – Maile Hayes worked the ball to the penalty spot before delivering a ball to Mia Pante 12 yards off the end line in the inside right channel. Pante sent a pass across the top of the 6-yard box where Hayes threaded a shot between a defender and the Wildcats’ keeper. A&M 1, UK 0.
27′ – Makhiya McDonald drew a penalty working into the right side of the penalty box. Taylor Pounds stepped up to the spot and delivered A&M’s first successful PK of the season. A&M 2, UK 0.
41′ – Jai Smith raced after a long ball and corralled it at the right corner of the 6-yard box. She drove a cross off a Wildcat defender to the feet of Makhiya McDonald who chipped over the keeper for her first career goal. A&M 3, UK 0.
The Aggies wrap up non-conference play Sunday when they host the Pepperdine Waves for a 1:30 p.m. contest at Ellis Field. The contest marks the Maroon & White’s annual Turn It Gold match, benefitting the against childhood cancer which hopes to bring awareness to all for a cure.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On the match…
“I’m really pleased with how our young roster performed. They did a great job coming into a tough venue to play in the SEC. Getting a 3-0 result here is big for the team moving forward. I thought we defended really well and our concentration was super. You can see this team continuing to get better from week to week. They learn lessons and they get better from lessons learned.”
On Kenna Caldwell’s play…
“I’m really proud of Kenna and her leadership out there. Her concentration was outstanding and she made some big saves out there. She was also calm and poised and did a great job keeping our defense organized.”