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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Ags face tough test in Nike Invitational

The No. 10 Texas A&M soccer team will face two of the best teams on the West coast and nation when they travel to Seattle this weekend for the Husky-Nike Invitational.
The Aggies will take on the Portland Pilots and host Washington Huskies, who are ranked No. 3 and No. 9, respectively, in the Soccer Buzz poll. A&M is ranked No. 11 in the Soccer Buzz poll.
The Aggies are coming off a 4-1 victory over unranked Tulane. A&M jumped out early on the strength of two Nicky Thrasher goals but slowed down in the second half.
Soccer head coach G. Guerrieri said that a repeat of that performance would not work this weekend.
“We have got to be able to maintain a level of intensity for the whole game,” Guerrieri said, “Any team that wants to win championships can’t let up and expect everything to go their way.”
A&M will play Portland on Friday night and then Washington on Saturday.
This year, the Pilots are 3-1, with their loss coming against No. 2 UCLA.
Eight starters return from the team that finished 18-4 in 2000. One of those starters is Hermann Award nominee Lauren Orlandos.
With Orlandos anchoring Portland’s defense, it will set up an interesting battle between her and Thrasher, who is also a Hermann Award nominee as a forward.
The Aggie’s defense must contend with midfielder Erin Misaki, co-West Coast Conference player of the year and forward Christine Sinclair, who is tied with Misaki as the team’s leading goal scorer this season.
A&M’s Saturday game against Washington will not be any easier than its Friday game.
Washington is 4-0 this season, overpowering its opponents by a combined score of 13-1. The Huskies’ only close game was a 1-0 overtime victory against Northwestern.
The Huskies are coming off their best season with their first-ever Pacific-10 Conference championship and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.
They were knocked out of the tournament by Portland in the round of sixteen.
Washington has been hit by injuries already this season. First, they lost all-conference defender Andrea Morelli in the off-season and then Hermann Award nominee Hope Solo injured her groin while training with the U. S. National Team on September 8.
Solo was the only goalkeeper listed among the nominees for the Hermann Award.
However, Washington’s defense will still be strong as sophomore goalkeeper Lisa Walker has posted two shutouts in Solo’s absence.
“It’s going to be good for us to go out there and play those top ten teams, and show us where exactly we stand at the beginning of the season compared to everyone else.” Thrasher said, “Hopefully, we will come out with super intensity and play our hardest.”
Brigham Young will also compete in the Husky-Nike Invitational, but the Aggies and Cougars will not face each other.
After the Husky ike Invitational, the Aggies will face McNeese State Tuesday at the Aggie Soccer Complex. The McNeese State game replaces the Aggie’s game against Samford that was originally rescheduled because of wet weather and later canceled entirely.

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