Aggie Soccer Wins 12th Big 12 Title
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Senior Megan Majewski's last-minute goal lifted the second-seeded Texas A&M soccer team (15-5-2) to a 1-0 victory and a Big 12 Championship over No. 1 seed Oklahoma State (19-1-2) Sunday in the final match of the Big 12 Tournament at Blossom Soccer Stadium.
This marks the Aggies' 12th-and-final Big 12 Championship in the team's 16-year history with the conference. With the tournament victory, the Aggies will receive an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, with the field of 64 teams to be released tomorrow.
"I'm so proud of the girls and the never-say-die attitude that they've developed throughout the season," head coach G Guerrieri said. "On Wednesday we were down two goals with 15 minutes left and scored three in five minutes, and then to give one up in the last three seconds, we were due for a last-second goal ourselves. That was a great individual effort by Kelley Monogue to beat the three players and knock the ball off the post, and that was great composure by our senior, Megan Majewski, to bury that thing into the back corner."
The teams played a defensive battle in the first period, entering the half with just three total shots on frame, two of those by the Aggies.
Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Day and the A&M defense stopped two close-range free kicks in the in the 29th and 33rd minutes. The Cowgirls' first set piece was from the top of the 18-yard box. Taylor Mathews crossed a ball but Day jumped out to punch the ball out of danger. Colleen Dougherty took the second free kick from 16 yards on the right edge of the 18-yard box, but never got close enough to the goal for a shot.
With 5:22 left in the half, freshman Annie Kunz sent a laser toward the goalmouth from 18 yards, forcing OSU keeper Adrianna Franch to dive for the save. Senior Bri Young gave Franch grief just a minute later when her shot from 25 yards bounced too high for the keeper to catch, but the ball hit the left post on the bounce and flew out.
The teams entered the half locked in a 0-0 draw with just eight shots combined and no one player firing more than once, but the Aggies came back from halftime determined to control possession of the ball.
Senior Merritt Mathias clipped a shot from 15 yards in the 49th minute that was just inches wide as Franch struggled to get to it.
Kunz recorded her second shot on frame four minutes later on a throw-in, getting her left foot on the ball from the arc and nailing the target as Franch dropped to her knees for another save.
Another long ball by Young bounced wild in the 58th minute as the free kick from the circle landed in the six-yard box before the OSU goalkeeper leapt to parry the ball over the crossbar and give the Aggies a corner kick. A&M took five corner kicks on the match, four of them in the second half.
The Cowgirls threatened to score when, in the 80th minute, Day left the box to grab a cross. The freshman was beat to the ball by an OSU forward, but sophomore Rachel Lenz cleared the ball after a frantic minute into the Aggies' attacking half while Day resumed her position in goal.
With one minute left on the clock, Mathias started a rally at the OSU goal, firing a shot that was blocked. Junior Beth West took a corner kick just seconds later as the Aggies added extra offensive pressure.
With less-than 15 seconds left in regulation, freshman Kelley Monogue passed a group of defenders and ricocheted a shot off of the post. Majewski grabbed the rebound with :09 left and fired again, from 15 yards, netting the only goal of the game as the Aggies stormed the field in celebration of their 12th Big 12 Championship.
Majewski's goal was only her third of the season and by far her biggest for the Aggies. The senior took only one shot on the night.
"It feels fantastic to be Big 12 Champions," Majewski said. "There's nothing better that we could have done in this tournament than to end on No. 1. It was a little surreal to see my shot go in. It was a great feeling and I'd love to do it again."
Day earned her eighth shutout on the season, playing 90 minutes in goal for A&M. The freshman was forced to make just three saves as the A&M defense kept OSU at bay. Franch was forced to make four saves, giving up only her fourth goal of the season as the Cowgirls suffered their first loss of 2011.
Four Aggies were named to the Big 12 All-Tournament Team. Freshman Meghan Streight, Mathias, Monogue and Kunz were given all-conference honors. Monogue was also named the Big 12 Tournament Offensive MVP.
The game marked the Aggies' final Big 12 match as the team will enter the Southeastern Conference next season. A&M played its first Big 12 game sixteen years ago, a 7-1 home victory over Kansas on Sept. 13, 1996. The team also entered its first Big 12 Tournament that season, defeating Baylor in the quarterfinal before falling to Nebraska in the semifinal round.
"We couldn't have written a better story as far as our last Big 12 game, and to be able to leave here with the trophy is really special," Guerrieri said. "I can tell you personally it's special for me. I was feeling a little melancholy this morning as I was looking back at the 16 years in the conference. I still remember our first game. There are a lot of memories and this is a great memory to put on top of it all."
The Aggies and Cowgirls met just two weeks ago on ESPNU in College Station. The match ended in a 0-0 draw and OSU went on to defeat Texas Tech for the regular season conference championship. The Aggies' place at No. 2 in the league was secured before the team defeated Texas, 3-0 in Austin the next week.
The A&M soccer team will learn its fate tomorrow as the NCAA Division I Soccer Selection Show is broadcast on NCAA.com. Visit the site at 3:30 p.m. CST to view the field of 64 for the 2011 NCAA Tournament. In a different format this season, there will be 32 host sites as the first weekend consists of only the NCAA First Round on Friday Nov. 18. The Aggies' 71 goals this season are the most by any team in NCAA Div. I women's soccer heading into the tournament.
The Aggies have advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the past 16 consecutive seasons, defeating North Dakota State before falling to host Minnesota in 2010. To learn more about Texas A&M soccer, log on to AggieAthletics.com.