ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- Top-seeded Texas A&M won its second straight SEC Tournament with a 1-0 victory over third-seeded Kentucky in the championship game on Sunday at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. The Aggies are the first team to win both the SEC regular season and tournament championships in back-to-back seasons since Florida won both crowns from 1996-2001.
"For me, personally, it's a great accomplishment to be able to work with kids like this," Texas A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. "They have proven the kinds of champions that they are, but they're outstanding students, they're great people and they come from great families. To be able to win something like this on top of all of those is really super."
Texas A&M senior Shea Groom scored the lone goal off of a corner kick by Haley Pounds in the 30th minute. The Aggies had five total corner kicks in the game but Kentucky outshot A&M 13-10.
Kentucky had several opportunities to answer, including a close attempt in the 36th minute by Zoe Swift that was kicked out by Texas A&M goalkeeper Jordan Day. Despite an 8-3 shot advantage in the second half, the Wildcats could not get on the board. Both goalkeepers had strong games with Day recording six saves and Kentucky's Taylor Braun accumulating five.
The Aggies (18-2-2) did not concede a goal during the entire 2014 tournament, defeating Georgia 3-0 in the quarterfinals and South Carolina 1-0 in the semifinals. Texas A&M is now 7-1 all-time in the SEC Tournament.
"If you look across the league, Kentucky has done a great job all season long," Guerrieri said. "They try to play. The ball is on the ground. Today, soccer won because you had a team in Kentucky that wanted to build and wanted to make the game enjoyable to watch and enjoyable to play. We believe in the exact same thing. We're not the only two in this league. There are so many great programs and I'm hoping that as many SEC teams as possible can get into the NCAA Tournament."
This was Kentucky's first appearance in the championship game since 2006. It marks Kentucky's first loss since the Aggies defeated the Wildcats on Oct. 5, in College Station. Kentucky drops to 15-6.
"I thought it was a great game and a great representation of SEC soccer," Kentucky coach Jon Lipsitz said. "We felt, all along, that we were going to be in the championship game and wanted to play A&M. They clearly deserved the title and huge congrats to them. They are a fantastic team, it was a great game, and we'll learn from it and be better as we start the NCAAs."
With the win, Texas A&M automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships. The entire 64-team field will be announced tomorrow, Nov. 10, at 4:30 p.m. ET.
2014 SEC Soccer All-Tournament Team
Bianca Brinson, Texas A&M
Jordan Day, Texas A&M
Shea Groom, Texas A&M
Meghan Streight, Texas A&M
Arin Gilliland, Kentucky
Stuart Pope, Kentucky
Alex Carter, Kentucky
Chelsea Drennan, South Carolina
Stevi Parker, South Carolina
Allie Sirna, Tennessee
Hannah Wilkinson, Tennessee
Most Valuable Player: Bianca Brinson, Texas A&M