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No. 10 Auburn holds Alabama A&M scoreless

9 days ago
Auburn Athletics
Photo: AUBURN ATHLETICS

AUBURN, Ala. - No. 10 Auburn took care of business against Alabama A&M, defeating the visiting Bulldogs 5-0 Thursday night at the Auburn Soccer Complex.

Freshman Carly Thatcher recorded a hat trick off the bench, the 14th in program history and the second since the season finale last spring, and Marissa Arias turned in a brace while adding an assist in her first career start.

"Marissa getting her first start and getting two goals, one in each half. What a performance by her in her first start at Auburn," head coach Karen Hoppa said. "Obviously Carly's performance, getting the hat trick. She had a ding on the ankle and had been out. What a great comeback for her."

Alyssa Malonson assisted on a pair of goals, matching a career high, while M.E. Craven, Anna Haddock, Grace Sklopan, Kylie Bechard and Sydney Richards pitched in with assists.

Auburn dominated the scoresheet from start to finish, firing off five shots in the opening minutes of the contest, and never looked back. The Tigers ultimately outshot the Bulldogs 49-0, marking the team's most shots since also firing off 49 shots against Alabama State in 2018. The game also marked the second straight contest the team held the opponent without a shot.

With the win, Auburn improves to 6-0-0 on the season for the fourth time in program history and extends the program record winning streak to 11 games dating back to last spring.

Arias got the scoring started in the ninth minute as she avoided the keeper and beat the defender with the finish inside the far post. The goal marked the first of the season and second of the career for the redshirt sophomore forward.

"It was amazing," Arias said of her goals. "I've been working all season to put the ball into the back of the net, and to get my first start and first two goals of the season, it was really exciting."

Less than three minutes after checking into the game towards the end of the first half, Thatcher finished with the right foot inside the far post, marking her first career goal. Thirty seconds later, the Greer, S.C. native hit a one-timer with the left foot to a similar spot in the back of the net, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead going into halftime.

Arias found the back of the net for the second time in the game as she rose up and put a header between the posts just 25 seconds into the second half. Richards served a perfect ball from the left wings and Arias timed it perfect for the finish. Joining Thatcher with the brace at the time, the two Tigers became the fifth and sixth players to record a brace in a game this season.

However, Thatcher wasn't done yet. The freshman put the finishing touches on the win and her hat trick as she rebounded a deflected shot from Arias and put it past the keeper far post in the 64th minute. Thatcher joined teammate Mallory Mooney as the second freshman since 2011 to record a hat trick.

"That was seriously such a highlight, I think probably of my whole life. It was so cool," Thatcher said of the hat trick. "I guess it was just luck or something, but they kept coming. It felt really good to be able to do that with the minutes that I had."

Auburn ultimately got a season-high 22 players into the contest, including 17 who played 30 or minutes. Sophomore defender Maddy Bondon made her season debut, while a majority of reserved logged season highs in minutes.

"A lot of performances off the bench we were really happy with," Hoppa added. "It was great to get people some rest, and now we can look forward."

Auburn welcomes No. 1 FSU to the Plains Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. The top-10 matchup will be broadcast on ESPNU.