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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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A&M ties 0-0 against No. 25 Clemson

Photo by foto cowboy

Carolyn Calzada (16) kicks the ball down the field on Aug. 11 at Ellis Field during Texas A&M exhibition game against SFA.

Texas A&M soccer opened its 30th season in an away game against the No. 25 Clemson Tigers on Thursday, Aug. 18. The Aggies’ only other appearance on Historic Riggs Field was the second and third rounds of the 2015 NCAA Championships hosted at Clemson, where A&M became the first team to defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels before the Sweet 16 before defeating Ole Miss to make it to the Elite 8. 

A&M led the history with the Tigers 2-1 with its most recent matchup resulting in a 3-1 win for the maroon and white. Eyes were on the five players named to the SEC All-Freshman Team within their careers: graduate defender Karlina Sample, sophomore forward Maile Hayes, sophomore defender Mia Pante, sophomore midfielder Quinn Cornog and senior defender Katie Smith. Also catching the audience’s attention was Clemson junior defender Megan Bornkamp who played with the U-23 National Team.

In a game highlighting the physicality of the 2022 A&M team and the fortitude of the defensive line, the Aggies and the Tigers finished the first match of the season in a 0-0 tie.

The match started with Clemson focused on forcing the Aggies to be patient on the ball by focusing on passes rather than their usual aggressive approach. The first 15 minutes of the game featured multiple one-on-one matchups between the front and back lines of both teams. Neither team managed to hold possession for extended amounts of time with belligerent press strategies from both sides.

A&M met its next obstacle with a sudden break in the clouds: they would play the whole first half staring straight into the glare of the sun. Despite the solar distraction, senior goalkeeper Kenna Caldwell used all six feet of her height to block two shot attempts from the Tigers. 

“The game today was the most excited and energetic I’ve seen our team in a long time,” Caldwell said. “Everyone brought the energy and played with heart and played for one another.”

By half time, the score remained goose eggs for both teams. The first half of the contest was dominated by defensive play. In a positional gamble by A&M coach G Guerrieri, the maroon and white defense was headed up by three defenders, Sample, Smith and freshman Carolyn Calzada, who, along with Caldwell, cleared any Clemson shots from entering the net. What little offense appeared in the first half was controlled through A&M corner kicks.

“It was awesome to be put under that kind of pressure for the first game of the season,” Calzada said. “Being away from our home field was definitely a different experience from the preseason game, but I was really proud of our team and the energy we brought to this field. We did the things we’ve been working on … and I’m really excited to see where this season goes.”

The second half started off quick with Clemson earning the first yellow card of the 2022 season. The player matchups between the Aggies and Tigers remained aggressive with both teams racking up fouls in the first five minutes. 

Tensions arose when Clemson delivered the first attack of the half with a shot on the near post barely blocked and parried away by Caldwell. The tables turned when redshirt-sophomore forward Laney Carroll took two shots uncovered, putting pressure on the Tiger defense. Despite the rapidly increasing tempo of the game, both teams still sat 0-0 with 15 minutes left in the match. With the clock ticking down and no overtime, both A&M and Clemson were frantic to put the ball in the back of the net. However, all attempts from both teams were unsuccessful and with the blare of a horn, the game finished without a goal from either the Aggies or the Tigers.

“I’m proud of our girls to come in here playing against the No. 25 team in the country on their home soil,” Guerrieri said. “Clemson is a really well coached talented team. A lot of veterans on the team and our young guns came out and I was pleased with the grit we played with.”

A&M’s second match of the season will take place at home in College Station at Ellis Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. as the Aggies host McNeese.

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