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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies upset

 
 

During the first round of the NCAA Soccer Championships Friday, the No. 7 Aggies looked like the same red-hot soccer team that scored 28 goals over the last six games. Texas A&M played a stellar match Friday against Texas State University while turning the game into a blowout 10-0 win.
The Aggies looked to make Sunday’s second-round game against the University of Illinois a laugher as well; however, the Aggies were left on the opposite end of the joke in a stunning 2-1 loss at the hands of Illinois.
“Our motto all season long has been to embrace the challenge,” said Illinois head coach Janet Rayfield. “We’ve had a lot of challenges all season, and I knew how tough it was going to be to play (at the Aggie Soccer Complex) – I just told the girls to go out there and just play.”
The Aggies came out and dominated the first half as A&M forward and Illinois native Ashlee Pistorious scored the lone Aggie goal off a kick from 10 yards out. Illinois seemed out of synch in the first half and never seemed to get into the game defensively. The Aggies outshot the Illini 8-3 in a first half that was reminiscent of the Aggies’ Big 12 Championship win against the University of Texas.
“The first 30 minutes of this game were very good, and I thought our defending was solid,” said Aggie head coach G Guerrieri. “The second half we allowed them to get back in the game, and they responded very well. They had three really good scoring chances, and they scored on two of them.”
The second half was a completely different story from the first as the weather and the winds of change seemed to turn in favor of Illinois. The Illini came out running on all cylinders during the second half, while pushing the Aggie defense to the brink countless times.
The Illinois opportunities finally paid off when Illini junior defender Natasha Karinski scored in the 66th minute on a shot from inside six yards that beat Aggie goalkeeper Kati Jo Spisak. The goal seemed to be a turning point in the game, as Illinois capitalized on its strong second-half play, scoring again in the 68th minute on a goal by senior Andrea Ridgeway.
“The second goal was a great one by (Ridgeway) coming off the bench,” Rayfield said. “For her to get the quality minutes down the stretch, it was just huge for her and our team.”
The Aggies weren’t without quality opportunities in the second half as Aggie junior Laura Probst had a shot on goal that just sailed over the top post. However, the Aggies’ best scoring chance didn’t come until 13:25 left in the second half when Aggie forward Ashlee Pistorious was taken down inside the Illinois box.
Aggie senior Amanda Burke was selected to the point-blank kick against Illinois goalkeeper Leisha Alcia. Burke set up for the kick among the hushed crowd in attendance and watched as Alcia stopped the shot for the biggest play of the game.
“We had been practicing (penalty kicks) all week long,” Alcia said. “I wasn’t really nervous about the kick – I’m just happy I stopped the shot so we could go to the next round.”
The Aggies ended the season on a sour note, snapping their five consecutive seasons of going to the NCAA Sweet 16; however, the team did break an NCAA attendance record Sunday with 39,069 coming to watch the Aggies play over the course of the 2004 season.

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