Aggies Blank UTSA in Home Opener
The Aggies capitalized on goals by Annie Kunz and Meghan Streight and a shutout in goal by Jordan Day to triumph in their home opener.
Texas A&M (2-1) owned a 24-8 edge in shots and a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks on the evening. The margin may have been wider in favor of the Aggies if four of their shots had not found the posts.
The Aggies looked as though they would come away empty-handed in the first half despite owning wide margins in shots (14-2) and corner kicks (3-0), but lightning struck with 18 seconds left until the intermission to give Texas A&M a 1-0 advantage.
Kunz collected a feed inside the penalty box and took a shot from eight yards out. UTSA netminder Katarina Pus thwarted the shot, but the ball trickled back to Kunz who had continued her charge and put the carom into the back of the net for her first goal of the season.
The first 12 minutes of action was uneventful with both squads feeling each other out. Both teams sent long balls into the box, but they were collected by the respective keepers to no avail.
Texas A&M had the first two threats of the game. In the 13th and 15th minutes of action, Jayne Eadie and Allie Bailey sent shots goalward, but Pus made a pair of saves to keep the Aggies off the board.
The Aggies added three more shots, all wide, before UTSA made its first serious threat of the game.
In the 25th minute Maria Jose Rojas took a shot in the goal area which was deflected by Texas A&M netminder Jordan Day. The ricochet was headed towards the mouth of the goal, but hustling Aggie defender Lyndsey Gnatzig sent the ball to safety with a bicycle kick.
The defensive save by Gnatzig appeared to focus the Aggies for the rest of the first half as Texas A&M outshot UTSA 8-1 in the 20 minutes heading into the intermission with the final shot of the stanza breaking the scoring seal.
The Maroon and White capitalized on a set piece early in the second half to inflate the cushion to 2-0. Chelsea Jones took a corner kick from the left corner arc. She sent the ball to the near post where it found the head of a crashing Streight and rebounded to the back of the net for the insurance goal.
Texas A&M kept the offensive pressure going down the stretch but blasts by Kunz and Kelley Monogue found the posts leaving the Aggies lead at 2-0.
Eadie launched a team-high five shots for the Aggies with two on goal. Kunz, Streight and Bianca Brinson tallied four goals apiece with Kunz putting three on frame.
Maria Jose Rojas was the lone Roadrunner to manage more than one shot. She registered three with two shots on goal.
Day (2-1) registered her first shutout of the season with four saves. She was aggressive in the box squelching a handful of Roadrunner attacks by pouncing on long balls into the box.
Pus (0-3) went the distance in goal for UTSA with seven saves.
The Aggies return to action on Friday, Aug. 31 as they host Rutgers in a 7 p.m. contest at Ellis Field.
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On today's effort: We got off to a slow start. It's one of those things that when you have big crowds, full houses, it's exciting and it gets you going so much. Especially in the first 30 minutes, we were trying to do way too much instead of just keeping the ball and possessing the ball and it kept UTSA in the game a long time. UTSA fought hard. To get the goal right before the half - that was a big deal because it made it to where then we could go into the half and just concentrate on the stuff we had to do. We knew that if we could just clean up our midfield, clean up our possession and put a little bit more pressure on them, we could really turn it around.
On the Aggies' second half goal on the corner kick: It was a great serve by Chelsea [Jones] and a super finish by Meghan Streight to get the goal. Unfortunately we hit the crossbar four more times and it could have been a little bit different, but hopefully we've got those out of our system.
On the first half defensive save by Lyndsey Gnatzig: A little bit of a breakdown started from a player running from midfield who was able to get in, and it was great perseverance and a never-say-die attitude from Lyndsey to be able to run that down and clear that thing off the line. That was a big save that would have made the game a lot tougher than it ended up being.
On the adjustments made at halftime: I thought that for the most part, we did a much better job coming out of the half. We felt like we were in much better control of the match in the second half, even though we were against the wind. We played with a little bit more patience and I thought our defensive pressure did a lot better in the midfield. We changed things up just slightly and the girls responded to it well.
On playing in front of over 4,000 fans: Sometimes I think people take these things for granted and it really is a special place to play. The 12th Man is great and really is an energy spark for our players. We want them back. We're ready now. We've got a win under our belt at home. The next match against Rutgers is going to be a big challenge.