Aggie Soccer Continues NCAA Tournament Quest
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Big 12 Champion Texas A&M soccer team travels to Charlottesville, Va., this weekend to take on Virginia Tech in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. CST at Klöckner Stadium.
The No. 3-seeded Aggies (16-5-2) will play the Hokies (13-7-1) on Friday before host school and No. 2 seed Virginia (15-4-2) takes on Washington State (12-6-4) later that evening. The winners of the two games will face off in the NCAA Third Round at noon CST on Sunday at Klöckner Stadium.
The Aggies advanced to the second weekend of NCAA play after a resounding defeat of LSU last Friday. A&M allowed only six shots by the Tigers on the way to a 4-0 shutout. Junior Beth West assisted two goals on a pair of corner kicks, while senior Bri Young and freshmen Kelley Monogue, Meghan Streight and Annie Kunz contributed goals for the Aggies.
Virginia Tech received an at-large bid after finishing eighth in Atlantic Coast Conference play and upset West Virginia on the road last weekend. Washington State also played to a first-round upset, advancing past host Kentucky on penalty kicks. The second-seeded Virginia Cavaliers ended the season ranked second in the ACC and defeated Long Island, 2-0, in Charlottesville to advance to the NCAA Second Round.
Fans who are unable to attend Friday's match but want to catch the action can watch and listen to the game live online at AggieAthletics.com or at 95.1-3 The Zone HD. Log on to RadioAggieland.com to download the app. Live stats will also be available through the A&M web site. Radio and live stats will also be available if the Aggies advance to Sunday's match.
Tickets can be purchased online at VirginiaSports.com and by phone at 800-542-UVA1 (toll free) or 434-924-UVA1. Tickets will also be available at the gate beginning one hour prior to the first game of the day. Fans can purchase reserved seats for $9, general admission seats for $7 and youth, student or senior citizen GA tickets for $5.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Live stats and live audio will be available for Friday's match on AggieAthletics.com and 95.1-3 The Zone HD. Fans should log on to RadioAggieland.com to download the app.
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BIG 12 TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS
In A&M's 16th consecutive and final trip to the Big 12 Championship, which is in its 16th year of existence, the Aggies defeated No. 1 seed Oklahoma State in the Championship final to earn the program's 12th conference title. The Aggies end their tenure in the conference with a 23-11-3 all-time record at the tournament and are one of just two teams (Texas) that have qualified for all 16 championships. The last time A&M brought home a tournament trophy was in 2005 after defeating Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado.
BIG 12 REGULAR-SEASON RUNNERS-UP
The Aggies entered the Big 12 Championship as the No. 2 seed after a tough regular season. A&M had a rocky start to the season, but quickly picked up momentum after a 4-3 overtime upset against top-ranked North Carolina on the road. The team only suffered one loss in conference play, shutting out five of eight Big 12 opponents. The Aggies' strong finish in regular-season conference play helped them to a No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament.
The No. 3-seeded Aggies have made 17 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with G Guerrieri at the helm. This year the team was an automatic qualifier after winning the Big 12 Tournament last week. Last season, the No. 4-seeded and ninth-ranked Aggies traveled to Minneapolis, Minn., where they drew with North Dakota State, 1-1, and advanced to the second round on penalty kicks. The team fell to host Minnesota in the NCAA second round, 0-2. The Aggies are 23-16-3 in the NCAA postseason, making four program-best runs to the Elite Eight.
SCOUTING VIRGINIA TECH
The Hokies (13-7-1) are coming off of a 1-0 victory over West Virginia in Morgantown last weekend. Virginia Tech finished eighth in the ACC and received an at-large bid to enter their fifth, and fourth-consecutive, NCAA Tournament. Junior Kelly Conheeney leads the team with 28 points on six assists and 11 goals, including the game winner against WVU. VT goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts has spent 1430 minutes in goal, allowing just 13 goals by opponents while grabbing 67 saves. The sophomore has seven shutouts this season.
The No. 2-seeded Cavaliers finished the regular season as the ACC runners-up and hold a 15-4-2 mark entering the second round. Last weekend, UVA hosted Long Island and defeated the Blackbirds, 2-0, to post a school-record 13 home wins in a season. Caroline Miller leads the team with 32 points on 14 goals and four assists, while Chantel Jones owns 12 shutouts in goal. The keeper has played every minute of every game for the Cavaliers and has allowed just 16 goals this season. This is UVA's 18th-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, and the team has hosted 14 of those at Klöckner Stadium.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE
The Cougars (12-6-4) drew with Kentucky on the road last weekend and defeated the Wildcats in a penalty-kick shootout to advance to the NCAA second round for the second time in three years after finishing fourth in the Pac-12. Jocelyn Jeffers leads the team's offense, posting 19 points on five assists and seven goals, and is closely followed by Brandi Vega with 17 points on six goals and five assists. Goalkeeper Gurveen Clair has allowed just 14 goals in nearly 2,000 minutes of play while posting seven shutouts.
The Aggies and Hokies have played twice, with both games resulting in a win for A&M. The last time the two teams met was in the Aggies' first home match of the season last year and A&M took a 5-3 victory. A&M soccer has faced off with UVA only once. The NCAA Third Round match in 2006 ended in a 2-1 win for the Aggies in College Station. The Aggies have played Washington State three times and hold a 2-1 advantage over the Cougars. The teams last met in College Station last season, and A&M won 1-0.
The Aggies have been either ranked or receiving votes in national top-25 polls every week for the past 16 years. A&M is currently ranked 12th in the Soccer Times poll, 15th in the Soccer America poll and No. 17 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Top 25. The team is also ranked No. 9 among TopDrawerSoccer.com's list of 64 tournament teams.
Through last week's games, the Aggies have the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation, leading all NCAA Division I teams with 3.26 goals per game. Freshman Kelley Monogue is ranked 12th in points per game (2.04), 11th in goals per game (0.826), fifth in total goals (19) and fifth in total points (47). Junior Beth West's 13 assists rank fourth in the nation, while senior Merritt Mathias has contributed 11 assists to sit at 14th. West is also sixth in assists per game. Freshman Annie Kunz is 28th in total points with 35 and 27th in total goals with 14.
In the most recent RPI rankings (through games of Nov. 9) the Aggies sit at No. 11, led by only Oklahoma State (No. 7) in the Big 12. A&M has consistently been in the top 25 in RPI rankings since reporting began this season. The Aggies' 71 goals this season is a national leader.
The Aggies' 25-player roster features 13 upperclassmen, two sophomores and 10 freshmen. A&M's fresh squad is guided by four seniors. The team returns seven starters and 11 letterwinners from a year ago.
The Aggies had six players with 10 awards in five different categories on the All-Big 12 awards list. The list was highlighted by Monogue, who was named the Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, and was selected to the All-Big 12 first team and the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. Mathias, West and sophomore Rachel Lenz also received first-team honors, while freshman Meghan Streight was named to the All-Big 12 second team. Streight and freshman Annie Kunz join Monogue on the All-Newcomer roster.
BIG 12 ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Four Aggies found themselves on the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team Sunday after the Championship match. Monogue, Kunz, Mathias and freshman Meghan Streight were named to the all-tournament team, and Monogue was named the Offensive Most Outstanding Player.
The Aggies' 10 freshmen have made a big impact on the 2011 squad. Monogue and Kunz top the team offensively, while both goalkeepers, Renée McDermott and Day, are freshmen. Bailey and Bianca Brinson contribute regularly as forwards and Streight, Perry and Edwards round out the midfield. Each freshman has seen action already this season, while all-but 24 of A&M's 75 goals were netted by members of the Class of 2015.
TDS FRESHMAN TOP 100 LIST
Seven A&M freshmen were honored on the TopDrawerSoccer.com Freshman Top 100 List, including Monogue, who led the nation at No. 1. Kunz reached No. 7 in the rankings, followed by Streight at No. 33, No. 43 Day, No. 52 Bailey, No. 64 Shea Groom and No. 71 Perry.
FIVE AGGIES ON TDS BIG 12 TOP 20 LIST
Five members of the Aggie soccer team were named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Big 12 Top 20 Player Rankings. Mathias led the team with a No. 2 ranking. No. 4 Monogue, No. 7 Rachel Lenz and No. 9 Shea Groom rounded out A&M's top-10 selections, while Kunz completed the list of Aggies at No. 14. A&M and OSU were the only two teams with five players on the list.
WEST TAKES NATIONAL WEEKLY HONORS
West's stellar performance in the midfield and a pair of assists against LSU last weekend earned the junior a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week and named her a CollegeSoccer360.com Primetime performer of the week. West assisted two goals on corner kicks from opposite sides of the pitch, placing the ball perfectly each time. The Centennial, Colo., native now owns 13 assists on the season to lead the team in that category.
MAC HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST
Mathias and Young, both seniors, were placed on the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List. The award is the highest honor in collegiate soccer and will be given to a winner on Jan. 6. The field will be narrowed to 15 semifinalists in late November. A&M was one of only eight schools who placed two selections on the list.