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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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Aggies face defending champs in NCAA Elite Eight

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Texas A&M Soccer

The No. 21 Texas A&M Aggie soccer team will face defending champion No. 2 Florida State on Friday in the round of eight for the chance to make a second consecutive trip to the semifinals and the College Cup.

The Aggies will get a second chance at redemption after facing the Seminoles during the regular season. In the previous matchup the Aggies fell 3-1. Emily Bates opened the scoring but Florida State responded by scoring three unanswered goals and was a constant threat throughout the game on set pieces.

A&M (17-6-2) boasts plenty of offensive weapons themselves but will be without midfield general Mikaela Harvey. Haley Pounds leads the Aggies in scoring with 13 goals in five games this season. Emily Bates and Ally Watt have provided instant impacts as freshman. Bates has scored seven goals and distributed five assists. Watt has caused problems for opposing defenses with her track speed and has found the back of the net seven times.

Florida State (17-2-4) is extremely stout defensively beginning with goal keeper red shirt sophomore Cassie Miller who has eight shutouts on the season and 27 in her career. The Seminole offense is led by dynamic midfielder Megan Connolly and forward Cheyna Williams. Connolly leads the team in assists with 10 and Williams leads the team in scoring with eight goals tied with teammate Berglind Thorvaldsdottir.

A&M head coach G Guerrieri said from top to bottom the Seminoles are an extremely dangerous squad.

“Cheyna Williams up front is very good at breaking out,” Guerrieri said. “Their midfield is very composed and very technical. They can turn on a dime and make combinations or individually. They’re back line is very strong and their outside backs like to go forward and brings them a lot of numbers in attack. We’ve got to be very vigilant in the way we defend and we’ve got to be very pointed when we get the ball that we keep the ball and move it into dangerous positions to score.”

The Aggies are coming off a win over Ole Miss in a dramatic penalty shootout. The Aggies converted all five penalties and junior goal keeper Danielle Rice came up with a huge save that enabled Sarah Shaw to convert the winning penalty.

Florida State enters the game after beating No. 19 Auburn 2-0. The Seminoles have kept a clean sheet since the 2013 College Cup and own the NCAA record for shutouts in postseason play with nine in a row.

Guerrieri said his players feel ready for the challenge of taking on Florida State in Tallahassee.

“I think they’ll go into the game feeling pretty good,” Guerrieri said. “I don’t think they’ll be necessarily in awe. They respect Florida State a great deal but the opportunity to go back and play a team at the place that you played them earlier is as good as we could ask for.”
Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. C.T. and the match can be heard on 1150 AM The Zone.

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