COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The intensity of the heat let up some at Ellis Field on Sunday afternoon, but the same could not be said for the intensity of the Aggies' defense as No. 14 Texas A&M notched its fourth shutout in the last five games in a 2-0 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas.
Texas A&M (6-1-0) broke the scoring seal early in the contest. In the fifth minute of play, Meghan Streight served a ball in from the left touchline to Katie Perry who was making a run down the center of the pitch. Perry got the ball from 25 yards out and launched a shot towards an unsuspecting Central Michigan netminder. The ball ruffled the back of the net and the Aggies staked claim to a 1-0 lead.
The Aggies would go nearly 80 minutes before scoring their next goal despite owning possession and a healthy shot advantage. Texas A&M outshot the Chippewas 19-9 for the game and 17-8 over the scoreless span.
The Maroon and White tacked on their late insurance goal in the 85th minute. Shea Groom advanced the ball down the left side to the end line and sent a ball to the left corner of the goal box. Leigh Edwards needed just one touch to flick the ball to Chelsea Jones who was sitting unchecked eight yards out in the center of the pitch. Jones used the inside of her right foot to send the ball left of a lunging keeper for the 2-0 advantage.
After starting the season 1-1, the Aggies have played their last five games at the friendly confines of Ellis Field, allowing just one goal in 450 minutes of action. Jordan Day, who has played all 630 minutes in goal for Texas A&M, has not allowed an opponent tally in the last 336 minutes of action dating back to Rutgers' goal in the 24th minute of action.
With the Aggies midfield stomping out counter-attacks and the backline marking defenders aggressively, Central Michigan (4-2-1) had to resort to spraying buckshot with few of their nine shots in the game coming inside the penalty box. Day made three saves on the afternoon, all with plenty of time to read the action of the ball.
In five games at Ellis Field, Texas A&M has outshot opponents by an average of 22.0-8.4 and the shots on goal advantage stands at 46-18.
Texas A&M makes its SEC debut on Friday when the Aggies travel to Baton Rouge for a 7 p.m. game against the LSU Tigers.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
Opening statement: I thought it was a good business-like weekend for us. We had two shutout wins, and those were two wins against teams (Central Michigan and Long Beach State) that are going to win a lot more games this year. Those games will help us out when it comes time for post-season, but as much as anything we had some good tests. It was a good learning experience. We got some good work for our defense. I told the players right here at the end that I was really proud of the way our backline and our midfield really battled when this team (Central Michigan) was trying to press for a goal. There's nothing better than being able to absorb what they're doing, and then get the ball under control, complete a series of passes, and then put the ball in the back of their net. Everybody got involved. We had a double-assist on that goal. Our attacking central midfielder getting up high is good.
On the defense's three-game shutout streak: Jordan Day has been outstanding. The team plays with confidence in front of her, knowing that any ball that's crossed will probably be cleaned up by Jordan. The tenacity of Rachel Lenz, Lyndsey Gnatzig, Jackie Tondl is a real positive. This weekend we used two different right backs in Karlie Mueller and Lindsey Witz and I was really pleased with them. They've all come so far for it to be so early in the season. I really feel good about where we are going right now.
On where the team is at starting conference play: We're really thankful that we are going into the SEC compared to where we've been because there are so many team in the SEC right now with RPI probably and records above ours. There were a lot of teams coming into today with undefeated record. There are a lot teams in our league who have beaten really good teams. I'm excited. Just like this weekend, we're going to play against really good teams that if we can get a good result, we'll be rewarded for it in the eyes of the NCAA tournament committee.
Sophomore Midfielder Katie Perry
On scoring early and setting the tone for the game: I've been trying to work on my shooting in the spring and been trying to put it into game use in these first few preseason games. In the game on Friday I had some shots, but they weren't going in but this time it went in.
On the importance of scoring early: Getting a goal early is one of the most important things. Getting a goal first puts you ahead and gives you and the team more confidence.
Sophomore Goalkeeper Jordan Day
On the defense's performance: I have to give a lot of credit to our defense. They block a lot of shots throughout all of our games. Not much is getting past them.
On the physicality of today's game: Today's game was more of a physical match between our two teams. I thought we did a good job, especially our defense. We stayed strong and didn't allow a lot of shots on the crosses that were let in.
On the team's play heading to conference action: I think we're doing really well. As the season goes along, we're just going to keep improving.
- aTm -