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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Penalty kick shootout sends Aggies to Elite 8

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Photo by Abbey Santoro

Freshman forward Laney Carroll helped the Aggies advance to their seventh Elite 8 appearance with a penalty kick to win the game. 

No. 11 Texas A&M soccer advanced to the fourth round of the NCAA Tournament following an intense battle which came down to the last kick.
Dubbed one of the greatest games A&M coach G Guerrieri has ever been a part of, the competition between the Aggies and the Oklahoma State Cowgirls featured four lead changes as both teams fought to keep their tournament dream alive. Still tied at 3 after 110 minutes on the pitch, it came time for penalty kicks.
The Aggies emerged from the shootout victorious after five attempts, outscoring the Cowgirls 4-3 thanks to the netminding of junior goalkeeper Jordan Burbank. A&M freshman forward Laney Carroll netted the last shot, securing the maroon and white’s seventh appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite 8. Carroll said she was able to capitalize on Oklahoma State’s goalkeeper making a mistake in the net to notch the win.
“I felt really confident, honestly, going into the kick,” Carroll said. “The keeper moved early, and I was like, ‘I’m going to shoot this down the middle.’ I thought that would be effective, and it worked.”
Overall, A&M dominated the stat board, outshooting Oklahoma State 38-11, 16 of which were on goal. The Aggies also held a 16-6 margin on corner kicks and held a majority on possession. Even still, Oklahoma State made it difficult for Guerrieri and his squad.
The Cowgirls struck first with a goal by senior forward Gabriella Coleman in the 15th minute. The Aggies quickly evened the score with a goal from senior midfielder Taylor Ziemer in the 17th minute, then took the lead going into halftime with a goal by sophomore forward Ali Russell in the 44th minute. Guerrieri said he was proud of his players for mounting the comeback instead of letting the Cowgirls’ initial goal affect their mindset.
“They didn’t get their head down just because they went down,” Guerrieri said. “Our players just put their foot right back on the gas, and it didn’t faze them. The players were rock steady.”
Oklahoma State came out of the gates on fire after the half, notching two goals from sophomore midfielder Olyvia Dowell and Coleman to put the Cowgirls up 3-2. Ziemer said this only fueled the Aggies to compete harder than they already were.
“There’s always pressure when you’re down a goal,” Ziemer said. “At the same time, we were playing so well, and we knew [another goal] was coming. We brought it together, and it came, just like we said it would.”
A&M freshman midfielder Taylor Pounds tied things up again with a goal in the 80th minute, sending the teams into two scoreless overtimes. With the game going into penalty kicks, Guerrieri said his team is talented enough that he felt good about the shootout.
“I’m completely confident in what our girls do,” Guerrieri said. “They’ve been practicing for this moment, and they stepped up and did it.”
With the third round completed, A&M now holds a 16-1-5 all-time edge against Oklahoma State. The maroon and white move to a 12-3-1 record on the season, and the Cowgirls finish their tournament run at 13-3-2.
The Aggies will now face either North Carolina or Washington in the fourth round, scheduled for 12 p.m. Sunday, May 9. Ziemer said the team will take an optimistic and respectful approach going into this match as they shoot for the Final 4.
“The Elite 8 is for the most elite teams in the country,” Ziemer said. “To still be fighting and still be playing, we’re honored. Spirits are high, and we’re really excited to be here.”

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