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

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

The Battalion

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Aggie soccer advances to the Sweet Sixteen

Behind a second half goal from Ally Watt, the Aggie soccer team is Sweet Sixteen bound after shocking No. 8 North Carolina 1-0 in Clemson, South Carolina on Friday afternoon.
A&M (17-6-1) entered the game as a considerable underdog, but proved they can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the country. Junior keeper Danielle Rice made three key saves to preserve a clean sheet in the match.
Despite the youth on A&M’s roster, A&M head coach G Guerrieri’s team has performed at a higher level than what their ranking reflects. After losing their final home game to Ole Miss, the Aggies have run to the SEC Tournament final and now run into the Sweet 16 after defeating Washington 2-1 and North Carolina 1-0.
North Carolina (15-5-1) pulled seven more shots than A&M, but could not finish off their chances, as Rice took care of business in goal. Just three of the Tar Heels 14 shots were on target.
The Aggies took the lead with the only goal of the match, which occurred in the 28th minute after Watt made a darting run. Stephanie Malherbe sent a long ball in the box and the North Carolina defense recovered. Watt then proceeded to steal the ball away and send in a cross to Emily Bates. Bates distracted the keeper and Watt’s cross ended up in the back of the net which gave the Aggies a 1-0 lead.
North Carolina almost had the equalizer in the 57th minute, when leading scorer Alexa Newfield’s shot rattled the left post from 10 yards out, and the Tar Heel chance went begging.
For the next 33 minutes, the Tar Heels desperately tried to equalize but A&M’s defense led by senior Karlie Mueller and Rice kept Carolina off the board.
Coach Guerrieri  said the win shows the ability of his team to step up on the big stage.
“It’s great to get another win in the NCAA tournament and this one came against a legendary program – a North Carolina program that we obviously we have the most respect for,” said Guerrieri told 12thMan.com. “What [North Carolina coach] Anson Dorrance has done for women’s soccer is amazing. So this was a huge win for us. This is a Sweet 16 spot we’ve really had to battle for, so it’s special. Fourteen times we’ve been here, now we have to regroup, see who we will play against and try to get to the Elite Eight.”

 The Aggies will now prepare for the Sweet 16, where they will face SEC rival Ole Miss, who pulled an upset of No. 7 Clemson on Friday night. The two programs will face off on Sunday at 12:00 pm.

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