ORANGE BEACH, Alabama -- The No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies had a late comeback fall short as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Florida Gators in SEC Tournament quarterfinal round action Tuesday evening at Orange Beach Sportsplex.
Texas A&M (13-4-3) fell behind 2-0 in the 63rd minute, but clawed their way back into the match with a late charge. Ally Watt converted on a free kick in the 81st minute to cut the lead in half. The Aggies kept the pressure in the offensive end, but could only manage a shot from Taylor Ziemer in the 85th minute that sailed high.
The Aggies had a handful of solid offensive opportunities in the first half, but were unable to break the scoring seal. In the 17th minute, Jimena Lopez pulled off a spectacular leaping trap of a pass on the left corner of the penalty box and used her next touch to rip a shot toward the near upper 90. The only thing that kept it out of the back of the net was a heroic jumping save by Florida keeper Susi Espinoza. In the 20th minute, Grace Piper sent a missile in that went inches left of the post.
Florida (11-7-1) broke the ice in the 41st minute. The Gators took a corner kick from the left arc and after the initial scrum, the ball found the feet of Parker Roberts who sent a shot in from 15 yards under a diving Shantel Hutton to take a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
After the Aggies opened the second half with a wealth of possession, but were only able to turn it into one shot in the first 15 minutes.
The Gators made the Maroon & White made the most of their best second-half scoring opportunity when Vanessa Kara scored an insurance goal in the 63rd minute.
Florida owned the advantage in shots (12-11), shots-on-goal (4-3) and corner kicks (7-4).
Coupled with last season’s 2-1 quarterfinal loss to South Carolina, it marked the first time the Aggies dropped consecutive matches at the SEC Tournament.
The Aggies await their NCAA Tournament destiny. The selection show is slated for Monday at 3:30 p.m.
41’ – Parker Roberts collected the ball after the initial corner kick chaos and sent a shot in from 15 yards under a diving Shantel Hutton near the left post. UF 1, A&M 0.
63’ – Sammie Betters sent a pass to Vanessa Kara headed to the end line right of the 6-yard box. Kara sent a shot to the near post. Aggie keeper Shantel Hutton got a mitt on the shot, but it took a bounce into goal before she could control it. UF 2, A&M 0.
81’ – Jimena Lopez drew a foul outside the left corner of the penalty box. Ally Watt sent the ensuing free kick into the right upper 90 for her 15th goal of the season. UF 2, A&M 1.