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The Battalion

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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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

No. 6 Aggies win 11th Big 12 Championship

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As the Twelfth Man counted down the final 10 seconds of the women’s soccer match, senior midfielder Rachel Shipley raised her arms in victory, hugged junior defender Rachel Balaguer, and the two raced toward the dog pile forming near midfield as the timeless “We Are the Champions” sounded throughout Aggie Soccer Stadium.
With a 1-0 victory over No. 5 Oklahoma State Sunday afternoon in front of 2,500 Aggie faithful, No. 6 Texas A&M clinched the third Big 12 Championship in five years. In her last regular season home-stand, Shipley scored the lone goal of the game 20 minutes into the first half.
Cowgirl defender Melinda Mercado took down Aggie senior forward Whitney Hooper in the box and was subsequently issued a yellow card. Shipley stepped up for the penalty kick and drilled the ball past keeper Adrianna Franch and into the back of the net, for her ninth goal of the season.
Oklahoma State pushed three forwards up top in the second half, but the solid Aggie defense proved near impenetrable. Several pin-pointed balls from Balaguer, senior midfielder Alyssa Mautz, and sophomore midfielder Raven Tatum split the Cowgirl’s backline and made their way to the feet of a pursuing Hooper whose deft footwork spun her way out of crowds of defenders and into one-on-one opportunities against Franch. A&M outshot Oklahoma State 14-10; Hooper leading the way with 4.
“[Whitney] is a very technical player,” Head Coach G Guerrieri said. “Her ability to turn with the ball on a dime to bring it down under pressure with people on her shoulders is a skill that I think people overlook. She is so darn fast.”
The final 45 minutes were back and forth with near even possession, but the Aggies were able to slow the Cowgirls’ attack and maintain the early lead through the final whistle.
“After two years, I’m glad that the girls won our trophy back,” Guerrieri said. “It feels good. It’s a big relief. Sometimes when you win championships, you think you’re always going to win them, and when you’re not the champions, you wonder if you’re ever going to do it again.”
Texas A&M (15-3, 8-1 Big 12) improved the win streak to eight games and eight shutouts on the season. The losses have been dealt by No.1 North Carolina, No. 2 Portland and Colorado in the first week of conference play.
Before Friday’s 2-1 double overtime victory over Oklahoma, the eight members of the 2011 Aggie Soccer class, Shipley, Hooper, Mautz, Kat Armstrong, Kristen Arnold, Kelly Dyer, Amber Gnatzig and Nicole Ketchum were honored. Shipley tallied the first goal of the match with an assist by Hooper, and Mautz netted the golden goal.
“It is so emotional and hard to think that [this time] is actually here,” Shipley said. “I know we talked about senior night for a while but it didn’t really hit me that [these were] my last two regular season games at home. It’s overwhelming. I’m not going to let it put any pressure on my game; I’m just going to enjoy every minute. That is all you can do, just enjoy it and play your heart out on the field and really cherish it, it has absolutely flown by.”
Sunday’s win marks Texas A&M’s 11th Big 12 Championship. The Aggies lace up cleats for the last time in the regular season Friday in Austin as they take on the Longhorns (11-3-3, 4-2-2 Big 12).

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