BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas - No. 8 Texas A&M Soccer saluted the senior class of 2021 with a 2-1 win over the LSU Tigers on Friday night at Ellis Field.
A&M remains unbeaten against the Bayou Bengals, recording their 10th all-time victory in the series to reach a 10-0-1 overall record. The Aggies ascend to 6-1-0 on the season, while the Tigers drop to 0-6-2 following the loss.
Texas A&M honored members of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2021 with Friday's senior night celebration just before the match began. The team commemorated the careers of Jimena Lopez, Addie McCain and Taylor Ziemer, who combined for a 55-13-6 record during their four seasons together in Aggieland.
The Aggies remained in control from kickoff to the final whistle, dominating the margins in shots (25-5), shots-on-goal (9-2), and corner kicks (4-1). Lopez and Barbara Olivieri continued their streak of excellent offensive performances as each recorded a goal in Friday's match.
Neither team attempted a shot in the first five minutes as both defenses looked to set the tone early on. LSU's seal didn't hold long though, as Olivieri sent a shot over the goalkeeper into the top right corner, assisted by McCain and Laney Carroll. LSU responded later in the period with a score of its own, tying the match with a Tinaya Alexander goal assisted by Wasila Diwura-Soale. Lopez fired back in the 36th minute to put the Aggies up 2-1 before halftime on an Ali Russell assist.
The first ten minutes of the second half passed quietly, with both teams coming out of the locker room hunting for offensive opportunities. The Maroon & White managed to put up a few shots, including four on goal, but none found their way into the back of the net. A&M's defense blanked the Tigers throughout the second half, yielding only two shots on their way to the win.
Kenna Caldwell manned the goal for the Aggies for all 90 minutes, recording a save in the process. LSU snapped the Aggies' five-match shutout streak in the all-time series with Alexander's goal in the 26th minute. Mollee Swift managed the Tigers' goalkeeping duties, allowing a pair of goals and submitting seven saves.
10' - Olivieri fired a shot over the goalkeeper into the upper right corner, assisted by a pair of passes advancing the ball from right-to-left by McCain and Carroll. A&M 1, LSU 0
26' - Alexander sent a low shot into the back-left portion of the net on an assist from Diwura-Soale. A&M 1, LSU 1
36' - Lopez launched a shot from just inside the penalty box assisted by Russell, placing the ball past the goalkeeper's reach into the righthand side of the goal. A&M 2, LSU 1
Texas A&M is set to host its final match of the 2020 fall season on Monday, Nov. 9 against the No. 15 Auburn Tigers at Ellis Field. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. with streaming available on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On the team's performance tonight...
"I thought that we came out in the first half and looked super. We really moved the ball crisply and put ourselves in good positions to see the goal and have chances. Their goalkeeper made some terrific saves. I thought that LSU has a lot to be commended about, they battled for the full 90 minutes. In the second half, I thought we came out flat which I don't know how that can happen when you get a chance to play in front of the 12th Man on a super night like tonight. I was pleased obviously that we were able to have a nice professional finish to the game. We gave them five shots the whole night, but I am a little disappointed that we take 25 shots and only get two goals. That is something we talked about a little bit after the game and we got to just continue to learn from our halves. The first half was as good as you see and the second half was not to the level that we are used to this season."
On the seniors and Jimena Lopez' goal on senior night...
"Gosh, I thought that she was going to get a hat trick, and that would have been a really special senior night. I thought that she was the best player on the field. You look at all three of those seniors, they are so influential. Not just what they do in the game for us, but they are influential in a way that the team trains. They lead by example, and that is exactly what you would want out of a group of seniors. Nothing is negative to them; they look at things as the glass is always more than half-full and they go for it every day which is a super example for the younger players."
Senior defender Jimena Lopez
On wining on senior night...
"It is awesome, especially because we know that it was a really important game to win. Just because it put us a step closer to the goal of getting to the two byes for the tournament, and hopefully winning the SEC. We are really excited and really happy for the win."
On how it felt to score on senior night...
"It is awesome. I am really happy I got to score on senior night, and also I am glad it was a right-footer because I usually score with my left. Phil Stephenson likes to mess with me a little bit, telling me that I don't have a right foot. I was just very happy to score that goal."
Freshman midfielder Barbara Olivieri
On her takeaways from the senior's leadership...
"The three seniors without a doubt are our leaders. They just have that talent for leadership with the team both on and off the field. They are great technical players and people as well. Our seniors are role models for everyone on this team, and I will remember every aspect of my experiences with them."
On her goal tonight...
"The pass from Addie [McCain] was really good. I saw the open shot and went right for the top corner. It felt really good to put that one away."