Texas A&M outplays Ole Miss to advance
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- Texas A&M scored two late goals to overcome third-seeded Ole Miss Wednesday in SEC Soccer Tournament quarterfinals.
The Aggies' first goal came in the 75th minute by freshman forward Ally Watt, her sixth on the season. A&M brought the match out of reach of Ole Miss with nine minutes remaining in the match as freshman Emily Bates netted the second score of the afternoon. With the win, Texas A&M (15-5-1) extended its win streak to seven-straight games. Ole Miss' season ends at 14-5-2, as the Rebels now await its postseason fate.
Texas A&M lost to Ole Miss just 10 days ago, but used the loss as ammunition heading into the tournament quarterfinals.
"All year people have talked about the youth of this team," said A&M head coach G Guerrieri. "And every match a majority of our team was playing against a team for the first time. Today was the first time they were seeing a team for the second time and I think you can see how much they learned and improved. They played with more confidence because they knew what they were up against."
"Getting to the semifinal is a lot easier said than done. This is a really good Ole Miss team, so I think beating them is as important as advancing to the semifinal as far as confidence goes. We have 48 hours to regroup and get ready for what should be a tough semifinal against LSU."
Using a starting lineup that included eight players who are freshmen and sophomore and a pair of players making their first career start as Aggies, Texas A&M controlled the action for a majority of the match holding advantages in shots (19-7), shots-on-goal (10-1) and corner kicks (5-0).
Aggie Ally Watt's first five shots of the match were either snuffed out or wide of target, but the freshman found the net on her sixth attempt in the 75th minute. She possessed the ball on left flank, turned the corner passed Ole Miss's outside back and raced to the left edge of the six-yard box, sweeping a shot past a flailing keeper to the right side netting for her sixth goal of the season. Texas A&M added an insurance goal in the 81st minute with Emily Bates putting the dagger in from 19 yards. She sent missile past a diving keeper into the left side netting for her sixth goal of the season.
"I don't think we were clean enough today. We really couldn't get any rhythm. We were pretty fortunate to get to halftime at 0-0," said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. "I thought we regrouped and had a good discussion about what we wanted to do in the second half. We came out and had a few moments that were never good enough, or clean enough, in front of the goal. Texas A&M scored a good goal and they pushed forward and got another one."
Texas A&M advances to play No. 7 LSU in SEC Soccer semifinals on Friday at 6:00 p.m. CT.
"It was great to finally get on the board," said Watt. "We felt like were outplaying them for the entire match, but it doesn't mean anything unless you get on the scoreboard. Once it was in the goal, it was great to turn around and celebrate with all the girls, because the goal and the win was a team effort. We worked really hard to get the win."