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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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Freshman Natalie Abel leads A&M soccer to 5-0 shutout over Sam Houston

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Freshman forward Natalie Abel during the Sept. 3 game against Sam Houston State University.

On Friday, Sept. 3, Texas A&M soccer dominated the ball against Sam Houston, building a 4-0 lead by the end of the first half that spurred the Aggies’ second win of the season.

In hosting the Bearkats at Ellis Field, A&M set the tempo early. While the night’s scoring opened by way of a third-minute goal from senior midfielder Kendall Bates, freshman forward Natalie Abel was crucial in maintaining the pressure.

Having seen only 15 minutes on the pitch as a collegiate athlete with no goals or assists yet, Abel said she knew —  with her family in attendance — this was her moment. The Rancho Mission Viejo, Calif. native took over for the Aggies after being substituted in during the 20th minute. 

Abel recorded her first collegiate assist with a well-placed corner kick to senior midfielder Daria Britton for the Aggies’ third goal in the 33rd minute of play. Just three minutes later, Abel scored a goal of her own.

“It’s amazing, I can’t even describe it in words,” Abel said. “ I’ve been out these last few games. I’m finally back on the field so I always do it for my family, do it for God, and I just did it.”

During the 62nd minute, Abel shared the love and assisted freshman midfielder Carissa Boeckmann in her first collegiate goal and the maroon and white’s fifth goal for the night’s final points. A&M coach G Guerrieri said Abel’s intelligence was on display tonight through her movement and team-oriented play. 

“She’s a special player,” Guerrieri said. “She played a little bit in some of our preseason stuff, but I feel bad that she hasn’t been able to really show herself. This was kind of the unveiling of Natalie Abel, and we even limited her minutes tonight.”

In the first half, Sam Houston faced 18 shots, with six being saved and four reaching the net while the Aggies only faced a single shot that missed the target. In the second, Sam Houston was able to place two shots on goal, but both were saved by junior goalkeeper Shantell Hutton.

“I think [scoring so quickly] just gives us a lot of confidence just going into the next 85 minutes,” Bates said. “It just kind of lights that fire, once you get the first, the next start rolling in.”

Throughout the match, A&M attempted eight corner kicks to Sam Houston’s zero as the methodical maroon and white offense refused to give the Bearkats breathing room. In the centennial season of the birth of the 12th Man, A&M notched its 12th-straight home win.

“It’s crazy, I’ve never had a crowd like this,” Abel said. “It’s insane, it’s so much support, so many fans. I had people yelling my name, I don’t even know who they are, which is awesome. You see your name on the big screen, it’s surreal.”

The 2-2 Aggies will next host the University of Texas–El Paso on Sunday, Sept. 5 at 3 p.m. This will be the first matchup between the two teams with the Miners looking for their first win of the season. 

“We have probably about half the team that hasn’t had a double weekend like this before,” Bates said. “So us older people are throwing out our wisdom, but just [regenerate] both mentally and physically and shifting our focus to UTEP.”

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