Aggies can't rally from 2-0 first half USC lead in NCAA 2nd Round

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LOS ANGELES, California -- The No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies had their season come to an end Friday afternoon with an NCAA Tournament Second Round loss to the No. 9 USC Trojans at McAlister Field.

The Maroon & White were relentless on the attack, owning the advantages in shots (21-9), shots-on-goal (8-3) and corner kicks (7-4), but the Trojans made the most of their best opportunities with a pair of first half goals to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.

After halftime, Texas A&M turned up the intensity as the peppered USC with 14 shots, including seven shots on goal. The Aggies found the back of the net once, in the 49th minute when Ally Watt notched her 16th goal of the season. Katie Smith and Jimena Lopez set up the goal from the left side. It was Lopez’s 15th assist of the season as she set a new Texas A&M single-season record.

The Maroon & White had numerous scoring chances in the homestretch of the match, but USC keeper Kaylie Collins came up big with six saves. She stonewalled a pair of Ally Watt shots 12 seconds apart in the 81st minute. In the 86th minute, Macie Kolb made Collins hit the deck for a save. Kolb also had a shot go inches north of the goal in the 78th minute.

The Aggies ended the season with a 14-5-3 mark, playing in their 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament and advancing to the second round for the 22nd straight year.

SCORING SUMMARY

7’ – Penelope Hocking worked the ball to the end line inside the left end of the penalty box. She sent a cross back towards the penalty spot that caused a car wreck of two Aggie defenders and one Trojan forward. The ball was settled by Natalie Jacobs who went a pass to Tara McKeown 10 yards out in the left inside channel. McKeown sent a shot inside the right post for the icebreaker. USC 1, A&M 0.

33’ – After a defensive miscue led to a turnover five yards outside of the right corner of the penalty box. Jacobs gathered the ball and sent a ball into Hocking headed to the PK spot and she poked a ball between the Aggie keeper and the left post. USC 2, A&M 0.

49’ – Katie Smith worked the ball to the end line outside the penalty box on the left. Smith sent a short pass to Jimena Lopez who used her first touch to send a ball into the 6-yard box. Ally Watt got her head on it for the final tally of her A&M career, No. 49. USC 2, A&M 1.

TEXAS A&M QUOTES

Texas A&M Head Coach G Guerrieri

On the season coming to an end…

“If you don’t win the national championship, you’re always disappointed when your season comes to an end. But these young women have a lot to be proud of. I’m proud with how well they fought all season and how hard they fought today. It sounds cliché, but today we just ran out of time. Another 10 minutes and we likely one or two more, but it’s a 90-minute match.”

On the match…

“The stats tell you everything. We outshot them 21-9 and we had the advantage in shots-on-goal (8-3), but USC had two golden opportunities in the first half and they finished. This was a match about who could finish their scoring opportunities and USC won because they did.”