Feb. 12, 2011

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -

The Big 12 Champion Texas A&M soccer team shut out Stephen F. Austin, 1-0, Saturday at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.

Sophomore forward Nora Skelton (Austin, Texas) scored a goal in the 31st minute of a 75-minute exhibition game to lead the Aggies to a 1-0 victory over SFA.

The Aggies controlled possession of the ball for the majority of the match, outshooting the Ladyjacks 14-9 and holding a 10-7 shot on goal advantage. 

A&M didn't score until junior Merritt Mathias had a direct free kick 25 yards from the SFA net.  Mathias hammered a shot that caromed off of a wall of players and back to Mathias who gathered the ball and played a square pass to junior Megan Majewski. The midfielder touched a ball across the edge of the 18 yard line to Skelton who prepared the ball with her right foot and buried a left-footed blast from 16 yards into the lower far corner of the 'Jacks goal past a diving SFA goalkeeper.

After the goal, the Aggies were able move the ball from player to player, forcing SFA to chase the ball for most of the rest of the match.

"Nora scored a nice goal," head coach G Guerrieri said.  "SFA gave us a good game and made it tough to get through their 4-5-1 formation.  We wanted to concentrate on keeping possession of the ball and being patient in attack to open up an organized opponent, and I think we accomplished that for much of the game and actually got better at it as the game went on."

The Ladyjacks and the Aggies played three 25-minute periods in this exhibition match. Texas A&M held a 2-1 advantage in corner kicks and used a total of just 11 players for all but five minutes of the match.

"Today was a pretty good fitness exercise for our team," Guerrieri said. "SFA played well and we have a smaller roster than usual due to a large number of graduating seniors who completed their eligibility in the past fall NCAA season and the absence of other key players who are still recovering from offseason surgeries. So, it was nice to see this group of players experience such an extended run of play."

Texas A&M is coming off a fall campaign where it won an 11th Big 12 Conference soccer championship and advanced to its 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

The Aggies are now 4-0-0 during their spring season and will play next on Feb. 26 when the University of Tulsa travels to College Station for a 5 p.m. kickoff at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.  Admission to all spring soccer games is free to the public.