ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - No. 12 Texas A&M peppered the Auburn defense with 19 shots, including 11 shots-on-goal, but the Aggies were unable to find the back of the net in a 2-0 loss to the Tigers in the SEC Women's Soccer Tournament semifinal game at Orange Beach Sportsplex.
The Aggies (17-4-1) owned wide margins in shots (19-6) and shots-on-goal (11-3), along with a 7-4 edge in corner kicks, but were unable to manufacture goals. Auburn's goalkeeper Amy Howard made nine saves and the Tigers' defenders made a pair of saves to post the shutout.
The first half was short on goals, but was not short on action. The Aggies had a plethora of scoring opportunities in the opening stanza.
In the ninth minute, Meghan Streight was able to get off a header with pace, but the shot went wide left by a foot. Just over a minute later, Kelley Monogue sent in a booming shot from 20 yards out that Tigers goalkeeper Amy Howard had to punch over the crossbar for the save. In the 11th minute, Monogue sent a cross in from the right side that just missed the foot of a charging Allie Bailey in front of goal. Monogue had a shot from the penalty spot that she was unable to place over a charging Howard.
Shea Groom got clean shots off in the 17th and 27th minute, but Howard was able to get saves on both.
Three substitutes nearly drew first blood late in the half. Annie Kunz hit a low liner from 25 yards out that Howard had to pounce on near the left post in the 33rd minute. Bianca Brinson launched a shot from the right corner of the penalty box that sailed just a few feet high and wide of the upper right 90. In the 39th minute, Catalina Clavijo
Auburn almost broke the scoring seal in the seventh minute of action. Maddie Barnes had a shot from 10 yards out, but hit the right post and the ball skirted across the goal mouth before Aggies' netminder Jordan Day was able to collect it by the left post.
Coming out of the intermission, the Aggies kept the pressure on, but were unable to put the biscuit in the basket. In the 48th minute, Jayne Eadie sent a booming shot in from 25 yards out that just missed wide right.
Auburn (12-9-1) scored its first goal in the 49th minute of action. Tori Ball sent a cross into Barnes who headed the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Further signs it wasn't the Aggies' night came in the 50th minute when A&M got three shots off from inside 10 yards, including two by Rachel Lenz and one by Bailey, but two defensive saves and a save by Howard kept the Maroon and White off the scoreboard. A minute later, Howard made another save off a Bailey shot.
The Tigers added an insurance goal the 63rd minute when Ball found Tatiana Coleman unmarked on the right side and she raced into the penalty box for a one-on-one opportunity with Day. She went to the left for the goal and the 2-0 lead.
The Aggies will await their NCAA Tournament assignment which will be announced on Monday. The field of 64 will be announced in a live selection show to be streamed on NCAASports.com beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Texas A&M Head Coach G Guerrieri
On his team's 2-0 loss to sixth-seeded Auburn in the SEC Tournament Semifinals ...
"I'm disappointed. We controlled 90 percent of the match and gave up two goals on the break. That's sometimes what happens in a game, you have a team that is going to lay back. We hit the post a couple times, hit the goalkeeper [Amy Howard] a lot of times; the goalkeeper played great. The fight that Auburn put in, they should be proud of. That's something that will go a long way. For us, now we get a couple days off to regroup and get ready for the NCAA Tournament."
On what his team needs to do to prepare for the NCAA Tournament ...
"We've got to finish our chances. We had 19 shots today and didn't finish any of them. With the quality of the players that we have up front, it's just a matter of sticking with it and concentrating on technical ability to put the ball in the back of the net. We hit balls on frame, but we didn't hit them well. We'll have to do that and we'll have to clean up a couple things. I thought our midfield played well for the majority of the match. We kept control of the game, but we've got to be able to finish our chances if we're going to win."
On what he learned about his team during the SEC Tournament ...
"They never quit. There was no quit in this team; they fought until the last second. I know that they're disappointed and we'll use this as fuel for our fire for the 'Big Dance.'"