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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 soccer earns bid to Women’s College Cup

Soccer+Preview
Valerie Gunchick
Soccer Preview

Despite only having less than a handful of returning players, the Aggie soccer team recorded a 15-6-1 overall record and earned a bid to the Women’s College Cup Monday afternoon.

First up for A&M will be Washington on Friday at Ellis Field. If the unseeded Aggies win, they would await the winner of 3-seed North Carolina and Liberty. Sixteen teams round out A&M’s region, which includes 1-seed Florida State, 2-seed Clemson and 4-seed Auburn.

“Our expectations are always pretty darn high,” said Texas A&M head coach G Guerrieri. “We always expect to qualify to get into the NCAA tournament, we always expect to be competing for the regular season championship, we always expect to make a competitive run in the conference tournament … The challenge this year was that we were going into a season with high expectations, with a pretty new team.”

The team only had three returning starters from last year — defenders Karlie Mueller and McKayla Paulson and midfielder Janae Cousineau. Cousineau, however, battled a knee injury for the season, leaving much of the leadership to Mueller and Paulson. Guerrieri said such inopportune injuries were a problem this season.

“Paulson wasn’t able to play in the SEC Championship game, Mueller was knocked out of a couple games with a concussion from an elbow thrown in the Auburn game,” Guerreri said. “Emily Bates missed the first half of our SEC season due to a knee injury. So, I think all-in-all, the resiliency of the team has been excellent.”

A&M’s season started strong with a four-game win streak, and the team was eventually able to defeat the No. 10 Florida Gators. The Aggies shut out many of their opponents, including Northwestern State, UC Irvine and Florida Atlantic early on in the season. More dominant blanks were home matches against Mississippi State and Alabama that resulted in 4-0 finishes.

A&M’s season however can be summed up in the most recent 2-1 loss against Florida Sunday in the SEC tournament championship. The Aggies were led off a Haley Pounds strike, but Florida evened the match with a corner kick in the 29th minute. The Gators pulled away with a free kick with less than three minutes remaining in the first half, and in the second half, Florida was able hang onto its lead.

The Aggies boast just two defeats at home in the last two years, which includes a 9-1 record this season. Guerrieri said he counts on the 12th Man to give the team a boost against Washington this Friday night for the first round of the NCAA tournament.

“We’ve built Ellis Field to make the 12th Man a big part of the game,” Guerrieri said. “What the 12th Man does for us — it actually is an extra player on the field for us. It really helps us out. This Friday night is free, and it will be the last chance for the 12th Man to see this team at home this season, I hope that they’ll come out because they really do make a massive impact on the game.”

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