Nov. 11, 2010

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 9 Texas A&M soccer team will take on North Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 12, at 3 p.m. at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in St. Paul, Minn.

The No. 4-seeded Aggies (15-4-2) play the Summit League Champion Bison (12-5-5) in their first NCAA Tournament appearance. Host school Minnesota (12-5-3) is set to play Creighton (15-3-2) Friday at 6 p.m. The winners of each match will advance to the second round and face off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14.

The Aggies entered the Big 12 Championship last week as the top-seeded team. They tied with Colorado in the quarterfinal, 0-0 in double overtime, and advancing on a 5-4 penalty kick shootout. A&M challenged Oklahoma in the semifinal, entering overtime in a scoreless draw before the Sooners finished the match ahead, 1-0. This is Aggie soccer's 16th straight appearance in the NCAA Championship first round.

North Dakota State advanced past the first round of the Summit League Championship last week on a 4-3 PK shootout at the end of a 1-1 tie with South Dakota State in double overtime. The Bison went on to defeat Western Illinois, 3-1, in the final match, earning the Summit League title and an automatic qualification for the team's first-ever NCAA Tournament.

FOLLOW THE ACTION Free live audio for all of A&M's games can be found on AggieAthletics.com. The first round match Friday will also be broadcast on KNDE-FM's HD3 channel, Play x Replay (95.1-3 on the FM dial of an HD Radio), making it available worldwide on any iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry or PDA free of charge. If the Aggies advance, the second round Sunday will be broadcast on WTAW 1620 AM and WTAW.com. Pregame coverage of both matches begins 15 minutes before the contest. Log on to RadioAggieland.com for more information.

FOLLOW AGGIE SOCCER ON TWITTER Not following @AggieSoccer on Twitter? Sign up or sign in now to find out what's happening. You will stay up-to-date on the latest news and receive live in-game updates at each and every match.

TICKETS Several ticket options are available for the weekend's events. Fans can purchase an all-session pass ($12 for adults, $5 for seniors) online at mygophersports.com or at the gate on game day. Single-session tickets are also available for purchase at the gate ($8 for adults, $5 for seniors). A single-session ticket is good for both games on Friday.

PARKING Two parking lots will be available for fans throughout the weekend with shuttles running regularly from Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium to each parking location. The Falcon Heights City Hall lot - located directly east of the stadium at the corner of Prior Ave. - will be free for fans attending the first and second round matchups.

A&M IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT The Aggies are 23-15-2 in 16 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The run began in 1995, with the team making it as far as the Sweet 16 nine times and the Elite Eight on four occasions (2001, 02, 06, 08). A&M has only been knocked out in the first round twice (1996, 97).

This is only the second time the Aggies have started the postseason on the road. Until its first-and-second round appearances in Baton Rouge, La. last season, A&M had at least hosted the first two rounds.

AGGIES LEAD THE BIG 12 TO POSTSEASON Texas A&M boasts the most postseason appearances of any Big 12 program, making its 16th this year. Nebraska is the next closest with 10 NCAA berths and Texas, who joins the Aggies in the 2010 bracket is making its ninth appearance. Also seeing action in the NCAA Tournament this year are Oklahoma State, in its sixth postseason appearance, and Oklahoma, in its second year.

A LOOK BACK Texas A&M defeated Memphis (3-1) and advanced past No. 10 LSU in a PK shootout (4-2) after a 1-1 tie to enter the Sweet 16, where they fell to No. 5 Florida State (2-1) in double overtime. The Aggies ended the season ranked 13th, and were the only Big 12 institution in the top 25.

SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA STATE Summit Valley champion North Dakota State is 12-5-5 this season. The Bison have netted 39 goals on 321 shots, 156 of them on frame. Senior Quin Ryan leads the offense with six goals and three assists for 15 points. Four of her goals were game winners. Kalani Bertsch has been in goal for the Bison in 16 of 22 games, maintaining a .97 goals against average and racking up 49 saves on the season. She has an 8-4-5 record with three shutouts. The junior holds the school record for saves in a season with 111 in 2008.

SCOUTING MINNESOTA Host school Minnesota holds a 12-5-3 record in 2010. The Gophers have placed 155 of 328 shots on goal, posting 37 goals. They have allowed opponents only 70 corner kicks, footing 148 themselves. Senior Katie Bethke is the offensive leader, totaling 19 points on three goals and 13 assists. Junior Shari Eckstrom is the leading scorer with seven goals and four assists, amassing 18 points. Cat Parkhill has started each of Minnesota's 20 matches in goal, grabbing 53 saves and allowing only 15 goals this season. The sophomore is credited with the Gophers' entire 2010 record and has shut out six opponents.

SCOUTING CREIGHTON Creighton comes off of its Missouri Valley Conference title with a 15-3-2 record, breaking the program's record for wins in a season. The team tallies 48 goals on 310 shots, 151 of them on target. Sophomore Brittney Neumann leads the Bluejays in scoring with nine goals and five assists for 23 points. Junior Andrea Zuniga tops the offense with 25 points on eight goals and nine assists. Alicia Montgomery has been in goal for Creighton in 15 of 20 matches, posting an 11-3-0 record with six shutouts. The junior made 66 saves and allowed only nine goals this season.

VERSUS THE FIELD The Aggies meet North Dakota State and Minnesota for the first time in program history. A&M has played Creighton once, a 1995 match that ended in a 2-0 Aggie victory.

AGGIES IN THE NCAA RANKINGS A&M has the 22nd-best scoring offense in the nation (2.14), and is 24th in won-lost-tied percentage (0.762). Senior Alyssa Mautz ranks 22nd in total goals (12) and 39th in goals per game (0.571). Senior goalkeeper Kelly Dyer sits at 21st in save percentage (0.86) and 35th in goals-against average (0.708)

2010 NCAA RPI The Aggies are ranked 14th in the most recent NCAA Women's Soccer RPI, and is one of only two Big 12 school in the top 25. Oklahoma State is ranked 5th, Oklahoma is ranked 28th, and Texas (36) is the last conference school in the top 50 RPI. Minnesota also breaks the top 50 at 38th.

FIVE AGGIES MAKE ALL-BIG 12 LIST Five members of the No. 9 Texas A&M soccer team received All-Big 12 season honors. Senior Rachel Shipley, Mautz, juniors Bri Young and Merritt Mathias, and freshman Rachel Lenz were named to the All-Big 12 first team. Mathias and Lenz were also selected to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. This is the first time since 1996 that five Aggies have earned first-team accolades. Lenz was the only freshman on the All-Big 12 first team.

AGGIES PLACE 10 ON ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 LIST Ten Aggies earned Academic All-Big 12 honors. Seniors Carly Wohlers, and sophomores Mary Grace Schmidt and Raven Tatum were selected to the second team.

ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS The Aggies made a respectable run toward their 12th Big 12 Trophy, but did not come up empty handed in hardware. Mautz and Shipley were both named to the all-tournament team.

COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT Shipley and Armstrong were selected to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District women's soccer teams. Shipley is a finance major who carries a 3.68 grade point average and was named to the first team. Armstrong was selected to the second team with a 3.55 GPA in international studies.

AGGIES TOP 10 IN THE POLLS At No. 9 (NSCAA/HendrickCars.com) the Aggies have been a constant in the top 10 all season, starting the year ranked eighth and moving up as high as fifth. The Aggies entered the national polls during the 1995 season and have appeared in the top 25 every week since for the past 16 seasons.

STARTING LINEUPS With a talented and deep roster, Texas A&M has used 15 different starting lineups in its 21 games. Sixteen different players have started at least one game this season and only two players have started in all 19 matches: Mautz and Balaguer.

LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD DEADLINE APPROACHING Shipley was selected as one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. From Plano, Texas, Shipley was chosen by a national media committee from the list of 30 women's soccer candidates that were announced in August. She was the only finalist selected from a Big 12 institution. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner of the award. Fans are encouraged to vote via seniorclassaward.com through November 14. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches votes to determine the winner.

GOALS GALORE The Aggies scored 26 goals in their first nine games, which was the most A&M scored in its first nine games since 2001 when it totaled the same figure. Mautz is having a career season, with 12 goals and 29 points, which are higher than her previous two season totals as an Aggie.

LAST TIME OUT The Aggies entered the Big 12 Championship as the No. 1 seed and tied with eighth-seeded Colorado, 0-0 in double overtime. A&M advanced to the semifinal on PKs, 5-4. Dyer made the game-saving catch while Schmidt, Shipley, sophomore Catalina Clavijo, Lenz, and Mathias netted goals in the shootout for the Aggies. In the semifinal match vs. Oklahoma the team posted 17 shots with six on goal, but was unable to pass the defense for a goal. After 90 scoreless minutes, the Sooners netted the golden goal and advanced to the final.

UP NEXT The winner of the A&M-NDSU match will face the winner of the Minnesota-Creighton game in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday, Nov. 14, at 1 p.m. The winner of that match will continue on to the Sweet 16 next weekend.