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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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Title shot

Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION
Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION

Gritty and experienced, the Aggie soccer team hasn’t lost since the beginning of October and sits two wins away from its first national title.
Annie Kunz helps lead the soccer team’s nine-senior squad — while also competing on the Texas A&M women’s track team.
The agricultural communications and journalism senior from Colorado grew up running track and competing in soccer. Sports were her life, she said, and Kunz’s athletic ability landed her a spot on both Aggie sports teams.
“I wanted to do track and soccer, and that was non-negotiable,” Kunz said. “I’ve been doing track since I was two and soccer since I was three. I’ve grown up with both of them my entire life. That was my first priority, so when I started looking at soccer schools who recruit earlier, I would look at the track program as well. A&M is normally top 10 in both and top 5 recently, so that was definitely a big selling point. When I came here I just fell in love with the campus, and there’s nothing like A&M.”
Kunz is taller than most opponents, standing 6 feet tall. Her height is helpful in track, where she competes in the heptathlon. On the soccer pitch, the forward earned first team All-SEC honors this season. Head soccer coach G Guerreri said Kunz has been instrumental in the success of the team.
“Because of her athletic ability, she’s a matchup nightmare for most teams because of her height and length that she has for the attacking area,” Guerreri said. “She gives us a real weapon whether we are building up or we are coming from the sides.”
Allie Bailey, team captain and friend of Kunz, said Kunz is a good companion on the field and off. In their freshman season together, the two were roommates, along with teammate Kelley Monogue. They would also share the next two years living together.
“She’s a natural goal scorer and she’s scored so many goals for our team. She’s always been a key factor on our team,” Bailey said. “We’ve all definitely matured since our freshman year, but when we are all together hanging out, we are still like that fun little group we were our freshman year as well.”
Prior to her senior year, Kunz had a decision to make: track or soccer? She found a loophole. By redshirting in track for Spring 2014, Kunz was able to focus on soccer for an entire year, and once the season comes to a close she will have two remaining seasons of eligibility in track.
“I wanted to focus on soccer more and really put everything I had into my last season,” Kunz said. “The coaches encouraged that would be a good option for me. Both the track and soccer coaches were really supportive of it. School wise, I needed a fifth year anyways so it just fell into place and worked out very well.”
Guerreri said he is pleased to have one of his team’s leaders focus narrowed.
“She’s never focused on soccer only because she always had other things on her plate,” Guerreri said. “This is the first year that she’s put track on the side and fully focused on soccer.”
With her focus on soccer, Kunz and the Aggies have won the SEC regular season and conference championship two years in a row, the first team to do so since Florida in 2001.
Now, the team has reached the College Cup, the Aggies’ first appearance in the university’s history. A national championship is the only thing left on the team’s agenda, Bailey said.
“Annie, coming in, wanted to have a big impact on the team which she has since her freshman year,” Bailey said. “This year I know collectively we want to win a national championship and that’s a big goal for her as well.”
Along with hoisting consecutive SEC tournament championship trophies, the Aggies did something else they’ve never done — earn a first-seed in the NCAA tournament.
Through the Elite 8, the Aggies have played at Ellis Field for each match. Kunz netted her seventh goal of the season in a Sweet 16 matchup against Arizona.
Annie said she gets her drive from her father, Terri Kunz Sr. After playing football at Colorado University, Terri Kunz was a fullback for the Oakland Raiders. In 1976, John Madden and Terri Kunz won a Super Bowl together.
“He’s always been supportive, and hasn’t forced sports being a big thing,” Annie said. “I’ve always wanted to play sports and he’s supported me through that. He’s always given me the right advice and has definitely been a role model for me. Looking at how far he got in his career inspires me to be as successful as he was. He’s definitely give me constructive criticism and can be hard at times, but I love his advice and he never sugarcoats anything.”
Thinking about the future can be scary at times, and Kunz said she prefers to hone in on the here and now.
“I want to finish school and I want to push through my track career further with my two seasons left,” Kunz said. “I really want to push myself and see where I can get with track. I made it to nationals my sophomore year, so that was definitely a fun experience. I was injured at the time, however, so I wasn’t able to perform the way I wanted to.”
When the Aggies return from Boca Raton, Fla., in either celebration or heartbreak, there will be several lessons learned for the team that hasn’t lost since early October. Kunz said for her, it’s to push through every obstacle she might face.
“Coming into college sports is definitely different, especially when you come into a top program like A&M,” Kunz said. “Every year is difficult because everyone comes in and they’re the best from where they are from. You could possibly not get the playing time that you want and there’s a lot of adversity that you aren’t used to.”
Annie’s said soccer will always be one of her fondest memories.
“The team atmosphere to soccer is something I’ll never forget after I leave here, and that’s something I’ll remember,” Kunz said. “We are all like sisters and have the best time together and have made some really special memories over the past three years. We’ve also collected some neat hardware along the way.”

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