COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 9 Texas A&M Soccer team needed 103 minutes before the game-winning goal was unleashed in a double-overtime win over the Georgia Bulldogs at Ellis Field on Sunday afternoon.
In the first-ever meeting between Texas A&M and Georgia on the soccer pitch, the Aggies controlled play for most of the match. The Maroon and White owned decisive edges in shots (33-14), shots-on-goal (13-5) and corner kicks (10-4).
The Aggies pulled the trigger on 56 shots on the weekend, including an abundance of quality offerings, but the lone Texas A&M score came on an own goal. Despite the ball being knocked into the back of the net by a Bulldogs' defender, the credit can go to Leigh Edwards and Shea Groom for producing the end game.
Edwards controlled the ball at the right side of the penalty box and launched towards the goal area. With Groom and a Georgia defender crashing towards the mouth of the goal, the defender got to the offering first, but had nowhere to put it but into the back of the net, giving the Aggies the golden goal at the 103:18 mark.
The game had several opportunities to end in the Aggies' favor earlier in extra play. In the third minute of extra time, Groom launched a shot from close range that was blocked before it could cause Georgia goalie Ashley Baker any problems. In the 96th minute, Kelley Monogue sent in a low liner from the right corner of the goal area that just missed caroming off the far post. In the second minute of the second overtime, Jayne Eadie boomed a shot from 18 yards out that sent Baker diving for an extraordinary save, but it would be to no avail as the Aggies would get the game winner 90 seconds later.
Groom almost prevented overtime with 13 seconds left in the second half when her shot from 15 yards out was just inches away from catching the upper left 90.
Monogue led Texas A&M's calvacade of shots, launching eight. Groom and Annie Kunz each tallied six. Eadie registered five shots, including a game-high three shots-on-goal, two of which sent Baker to the deck for the save.
The Aggies did not let the 'Dogs offense out, holding Georgia scoreless for A&M's 12th shutout of the season. The blanking tied the school record of 12 set in 2006. Jordan Day made five saves on the afternoon for her school-record 11th shutout of the year. She now also owns 20 shutouts for her career.
Georgia (7-10-2, 3-7-2 SEC) received a solid effort in goal from Baker who made 11 saves on the day.
With the win, the Aggies (15-3-1, 9-2-1) booked their ninth consecutive 15-win season. With another win, the Maroon and White would match their victory mark from last season. The school record stands at 20, set in 2002.
The victory kept Texas A&M two points behind Florida for first place in the SEC overall standings with one match left to play. The Aggies would need a win over Missouri and a Florida loss at South Carolina on Thursday to earn an outright SEC title and the overall No. 1 seed at the SEC Championship in Orange Beach, Alabama. Texas A&M owns a three-point lead over Tennessee for the No. 2 spot in the overall standings.
The Aggies return to action on Thursday with a 7 p.m. contest against the Missouri Tigers at Ellis Field. The game will be televised on Fox SportSouth
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On only producing one goal with 56 shots on the weekend: It was a bad weekend for our goal scorers to have a cold spell. Hopefully they can get it out of their system during training this week, and they will because they are quality players. You do have to be pleased that they were able to control the play and get good shots off. We just need to finish and we'll work on that.
On the play of Shea Groom: I think with all of our forwards it was a frustrating day. Shea was a good example of perseverance to keep going and going and going. They knock you down, literally, and you get back up. You have to have a short memory and keep after it. I think the defender knocked it into her own goal, but she only two choices. Either she could knock it in or Shea could knock it in. And credit Leigh (Edwards) with the hard work to get around the corner and send the ball into where it would cause trouble.
An own goal with just over six minutes left in the second overtime lifted No. 9 Texas A&M to a 1-0 win over Georgia Sunday at Ellis Field.
More to come.