COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies ended the Texas Longhorns' season and grabbed their ticket to the NCAA Tournament second round with a 4-1 win Friday night at Ellis Field.
The Maroon & White advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the 22nd consecutive season, the third-longest active streak in the nation.
The Longhorns scored the icebreaker in the seventh minute, but their lead was lost when the Ziemer sisters answered back in the 24th and 44th minute. The Aggies tacked on scores from Grace Piper and a Texas own goal.
The Maroon & White's point leaders Ally Watt and Jimena Lopez both offered up assists on the night. Watt improved to a team-leading 37 points with seven assists to along with her 15 goals. Meanwhile, Lopez improved to 32 points and 14 assists. Lopez's assist tally equals the single-season school record and tied her with Memphis' Stasia Mallin for third slot on the NCAA Division I leaderboard.
The Aggies held the shot advantage, 27-17, including 12-8 in shots-on-goal. Texas A&M bombarded the Longhorns in the first half with a 16-6 shot comparison and six shots on goal to take the 2-1 lead into the intermission.
The attendance for the match was 3,021, the second-largest crowd for an NCAA Tournament match at Ellis Field, behind only the 2014 Elite Eight match against Penn State.
Texas A&M improved to 14-4-3 on the season and 21-5-2 all-time against the Longhorns. The Aggies' Burnt Orange & White foes had their season come to a close with an 11-8-1 record.
7' - From the edge of the mid-field circle, Julia Grosso passed to Cameron Brooks 20 yards out on the left side. Brooks sent the cross to Cydney Billups who headed a floater that bounced in the net through the left side from just outside the six-yard box. A&M 0, UT 1.
24' - Grace Piper dished from the left to Taylor Ziemer in the middle from 22 yards out. Ziemer launched a missile that deflected off a Longhorn defender and looped over the goalkeeper for the equalizer. A&M 1, UT 1.
44' - From the left corner, Jimena Lopez sent a cross from the left side to Halldórsdóttir at eight yards out. Halldórsdóttir poked a heel touch to Tera Ziemer, who finished the play shooting the ball past the diving goalie in the bottom left corner from eight yards out. A&M 2, UT 1.
56' - On the right side, Watt passed to Piper in the center from 25 yards out. Piper shot a rocket to the right upper 90 for the goal. A&M 3, UT 1.
72' - Lopez sent the cross to Watt and Halldórsdóttir charging into the six-yard box, but a Longhorn defender chipped the ball over the goalie's reach for an own goal. A&M 4, UT 1. UP NEXT
Texas A&M heads to the NCAA Tournament Second Round on November 22 to face the winner of Saturday's Southern Cal - Cal State Fullerton match. If USC wins, the match second round match is in Los Angeles. If the Cal State Fullerton is victorious, the match is in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Match time is to be determined.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Associate Head Coach Phil Stephenson
"How could you not perform with a crowd like that tonight? It was around 3,000. An absolutely amazing showing by the 12th Man, and the team rose to the occasion. They were great."
On the team responding after Texas scored first...
"Well, we didn't start off well. It was something that we had seen before on film. It is a little annoying when they do something we had a look at. It was a matter of just clawing our way back into the game one pass at a time. The players responded. They got together, there was a huddle and I don't know what they said but it probably wasn't, 'This is really good. We need to carry on doing the same thing.' There was probably a little bit of grit in there somewhere. Taylor Ziemer had a big hand in just getting us back in to it. The belief and the confidence just started flowing. It looked fantastic all the way through after that."
On an open game, a lot of quality shots for both teams...
"We knew it by how they play with their backs, launching long balls on top of our backs. They are going to get some looks with our back three, but I thought we just stamped a quality of passing on the game. Ally Watt had another night that could have had five goals. Not so much that she created but the people around her were creating those things for her. I was really pleased with how we created our chances."
Junior forward Taylor Ziemer
On what they saw offensively to keep the ball on the offensive side of the field...
"We went into the game knowing that the width was going to be open, so I think just keeping the ball and switching it from side to side was the gamechanger. Using our width to get in and get crosses, while also they were pretty exposed. The game was open, so we were able to find holes in them. As we moved the ball, we were able to pick them apart. There was a lot of space, so we were able to get a lot of chances."
Sophomore midfielder Tera Ziemer
On if she feels like she needs to get a goal after Taylor got one...
"Seeing her score and just kind of realizing how open the game was made me need one. My goal was just to go in and make a difference, so I think I just went in and realized that I could really get in there and do that. That's all I tried to do, and hard work payed off."
Head Coach Angela Kelly
"I'm obviously disappointed with the result, but credit [Texas] A&M. They took their chances very well. I think that seemed like a match that could have been 10-8. It was back and forth. There were loads of shots for both teams with 12 shots on goal for [Texas] A&M and eight shots on goal for Texas. I think we had chances out there that we wish we could get back. It was an open game, and I thought we gave the ball back too quickly and too easily. That broke the momentum. The score early was great, and then there is just a shift. Our game is a transitional game where there is these shifts. We turned the ball over; they got a little piece of the ball and took advantage of their opportunities. I'm disappointed with the result."