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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Senior class sets bar high for finale

Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION
Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION

Ellis Field has been home to the Texas A&M soccer team since 1993. Every year since 1995, it has been the home field of an NCAA tournament team coached by G Guerrieri.
“We’ve been to 20 straight NCAA tournaments,” Guerrieri said. “We’ve never had a losing season. All we’ve known here is success. We’ve won 16 conference championships in the last 17 years. For me to say this is the best team we’ve ever had is a mouthful.”
Guerrieri referenced a quote from the late NFL coach Bum Phillips. For years, the Aggies have been knocking on the door of soccer’s final four. This year, they have kicked it in.
“When we got together in January and they started to formulate what they wanted to do in the next year, they started to think about the steps they would have to take to win a national championship,” Guerrieri said.
For the seniors, homefield advantage was important.
“Getting a No. 1 seed was something that had never happened here before,” said senior Annie Kunz. “It’s such an advantage to play in front of your own crowd, especially the 12th Man.”
Kunz is one of nine seniors on the A&M roster for its run at history. Leigh Edwards and Meghan Streight helped to defend against attacks from the opposition, which has led the team to Boca Raton, Florida, for the last weekend of the season. For some in the tournament, it is the last of their playing careers.
“There are a lot of expectations to live up to,” Edwards said. “It’s awesome to make it to the final four but ultimately our goal is to win the national championship. As much as we want to enjoy the experience we also still have that big goal ahead of us.”
The goal ahead is clear. The goal behind keepers Jordan Day and Renee McDermott is often left undisturbed. The seniors have split time in the goal this year due to injury and have both been critical to the team’s success.
“Jordan came into the season as one of the more heralded goalkeepers in the country and then promptly was injured in the first game of the season,” Guerrieri said. “It gave us an opportunity for us to showcase what Renee McDermott could do. She stepped in and played and was outstanding.”
The top five point scorers for the Aggies are seniors. They include Kelley Monogue with a team-high 44, Shea Groom 39, Bianca Brinson with 29, Allie Bailey with 25 and Kunz with 23.
Groom has been named a Hermann Award semi-finalist. Brinson is quick to attack in transition and clutch goals throughout the year led to a one-seed for the team.
“It’s an awesome, awesome feeling to get over the Elite Eight hump that our program has had,” said Bailey. “We definitely are a high-scoring team. We have a lot of offensive threats and a lot of people who can score.”
The Aggies will play the Virginia Cavaliers with the winner facing off against the winner of Stanford-Florida State for a shot at a national title.
“It’s very surreal and exciting,” Kunz said. “We have been working for this for about four years now. I can remember when we were all recruits coming on our officials. We all chose this school because we wanted to be a part of a program that made some history. To have an opportunity to get a national championship is incredibly exciting and an awesome opportunity for our class.”
Time to make history.

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