Aggies face USC in NCAA Tournament

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LOS ANGELES, California – The No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the 22nd consecutive season Friday when they battle the No. 9 USC Trojans in a 3:30 p.m. contest at McAlister Field.

The match streams on Pac 12+ and Facebook Live. The match may be heard on 97.3 FM KAGC in the Brazos Valley. Fans can listen to every match worldwide, on RadioAggieland.com, the Radio Aggieland app and 12thMan.com/live.

The Los Angeles second and third round pod also includes the No. 13 Oklahoma State Cowgirls and No. 20 Santa Clara Broncos. The winners of the two second round matches play Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. with an Elite Eight spot on the line. Of the eight second-round sites, the McAlister Meatgrinder is the only one to feature four teams ranked in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25.

At 14-4-3, the Aggies advanced to the second round with a 4-1 victory over the Texas Longhorns. USC (15-4-1) moved on with a 5-1 win against Cal State Fullerton.

This marks the second time in four years that the Maroon & White head to Los Angeles to face USC in NCAA Tournament action. In 2016, the Trojans prevailed in a penalty kick shootout, 4-3, after the teams played to a scoreless draw, sending USC to the Sweet 16. After they snuck by the Aggies, USC rattled off three consecutive 1-0 wins over Utah, Auburn and Georgetown to advance to the College Cup championship match where they bested West Virginia, 3-1, for their second national title.

Texas A&M and USC are playing in the same second and third round pod for the third time in four years. In addition to the 2016 meeting, USC trekked to Ellis Field in 2017. The two seeded teams seemed destined to meet in the third round, but unseeded Notre Dame and Baylor had other thoughts. Notre Dame and Texas A&M played to a 2-2 draw and the Fighting Irish advanced on PKs, 4-1. USC and Baylor tied 1-1 and the Bears moved on with a 3-0 edge in the shootout.

The Aggies and Trojans have met on two prior occasions. In addition to the aforementioned 2016 NCAA Second Round match, Texas A&M toppled USC in a top 10 match up at Ellis Field, 3-0, in 2009. Mary Grace Schmidt scored with 22 seconds remaining in the first half to give then-No. 7 Texas A&M a 1-0 lead at the intermission. Whitney Hooper and Amber Gnatzig tacked on goals in the 73rd and 87th minute, respectively. Kristin Arnold and Kelly Dyer combined on the season-opening shutout as the Aggie defense held then-No. 8 USC to just two shots-on-goal.

USC is led by the duo of Penelope Hocking and Tara McKeown, who have accounted for 30 of their 42 goals and 73 of their 124 points. Hocking has tallied 38 points on 16 goals and six assists. McKeown has notched 35 points on 14 goals and seven assists. Natalie Jacobs has added 13 points on three goals and seven assists. Anna Smith and Kaylie Collins have seen action in goal. Smith has played 1,075 minutes, registering a 1.17 goals-against average, 44 saves and three shutouts. Collins has logged 765 minutes, recording a 1.06 goals-against average, 30 saves and five shutouts.

With last Friday’s victory over Texas, the Aggies advanced to the second round for the 22nd consecutive season. It marks the third-longest active NCAA second-round streak behind only North Carolina (37) and Virginia (25). The Maroon & White are aiming for their 16th appearance in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Aggies are playing in their 25th consecutive NCAA Division I Championship, one of four teams to play in each tournament since 1995. The other schools to make every tournament since 1995 are North Carolina (1982-2019), Virginia (1994-2019) and Penn State (1995-2019).

Friday, November 22

#13 Oklahoma State vs. #20 Santa Clara – 1 p.m.

#9 USC vs. #22 Texas A&M – 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 24

Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner – 3:30 p.m.