COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies toppled the Lamar Cardinals, 1-0, in the first round of the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship at Ellis Field Friday evening. The triumph gave the Maroon & White their school-record 14th consecutive victory.
The win kept a couple other streaks going for the Aggies.
Texas A&M has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship in each of their last 20 appearances. It marks the third-longest active streak behind only North Carolina (35) and Virginia (23), who both open their tournament play Saturday. The Maroon & White have gone 18-0-2 during the span, advancing on PKs in 2003 (vs. SMU) and 2010 (vs. North Dakota State).
With the win, the Aggies' improved to 27-0-5 (.929) against in-state rivals since 2008.
Texas A&M (18-2-1) got on the scoreboard in the eighth minute on an own goal. Aggie forward Ally Watt was the catalyst on the play, getting around the right flank of the Cardinals' backline and sending in a cross from five yards off the end line. Lamar's goalkeeper attempted to knock the ball out of danger, but the ball went off her mitts and was chested in by defender M.J. Eckart for the own goal. Had Eckart not interceded, Texas A&M forward Emily Bates was waiting unmarked in the six-yard box ready to pounce.
The Maroon & White dictated terms for most of the match, owning the advantages in shots (20-5), shots-on-goal (10-2) and corner kicks (9-3).
The Aggies were unlucky on a pair of occasions. In the 50th minute, Cienna Arrieta sent a laser in from 15 yards out. The ball hit the crossbar, went straight down and backspun away from goal before getting cleared. In the 60th minute, Watt was given a perfect service from Mikaela Harvey, setting up a 1-on-1 with the keeper, but Lauren Lovejoy snuffed out the effort.
Cosette Morché logged two saves in goal for her eighth shutout of the season. Lovejoy made nine saves for Lamar (18-4-1).
With the loss Lamar's most successful season in history came to an end. The Cardinals finished the year 18-4-1 overall and made their first NCAA Championship appearance.
Texas A&M is slated to play NCAA Division I Championship Second Round action next Friday at Ellis Field. The Aggies will play either Notre Dame or IUPUI in a 7:30 pm match. At 3:30 p.m., Baylor will play the winner of USC-Eastern Washington.