LOS ANGELES, California – The Texas A&M Aggies’ 2016 campaign came to an end Friday with the No. 7 USC Trojans advancing to the NCAA Championship third round on a penalty kick shootout, 4-3. The squads played to a 0-0 draw after a grueling 110 minutes of action at McAlister Field.
The shootout opened with USC goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme making a save on Sarah Shaw’s offering. The Trojans got the upper hand with Mandy Freeman making her shot.
Texas A&M’s Mikaela Harvey and USC’s Kayla Mills were successful with their second-round shots.
The shootout evened out in the third round as Brittany Crabtree scored for the Aggies and Danielle Rice made a save on Morgan Andrews’ shot.
USC gained the advantage again in the fourth round as Grace Piper’s shot hit the crossbar for the Aggies and the Trojans’ Amanda Rooney found the back of the net with her attempt.
In the final round, Haley Pounds put pressure on the Trojans, making her kick, but Alex Anthony answered with the decisive shot.
The Aggies’ had a streak of prevailing in 10 consecutive shootouts snapped. The streak included seven NCAA Championship matches.
In her collegiate match, Rice had a stellar performance in goal. She made eight saves and snuffed out numerous crosses and set pieces to register her eighth shutout of the season and the 11th of her career at Texas A&M.
Prudhomme made four saves for USC to register her shutout, including a stonewall of a solid blast from Emily Bates late in the first overtime period to stave off the sudden death goal.
Rice made a pair of impressive saves in the first five minutes of the contest to keep the Trojans off the board. In the second minute, the Aggie goalkeeper made a kick save on a shot by Alex Anthony. In the fourth minute Rice used her fingertips to make a save on a shot by Taylor McMorrow.
USC had a shot by Rooney hit the crossbar and hit in front of the goal line in the 19th minute. A Trojans’ shot by Ashleigh Plumptre went inches wide of the left post in the 32nd minute.
The Aggies had a pair of scoring opportunities snuffed out by Prudhomme in the opening act. Crabtree was on the shooting end of both Prudhomme’s save, including offers in the second and 19thminutes.
Crabtree appeared to score in the last 10 minutes of the first half. With an emergence of the clans in the six-yard box, Crabtree put a ball into goal, but she was deemed to have kicked the ball out of the keeper’s hands.
USC owned the advantages in shots (11-4) in the first half. Corner kicks (1-1) and shots-on-goal (2-2) were even in the opening stanza.
Rice came up huge in the second half as she made five saves. Ultimately, it was a defensive save by McKayla Paulson with the game in its waning seconds that sent the match to overtime. Andrews lofted a howitzer from 20 yards which leapt over Rice who was five yards off the line, but Paulson booted the ball clear of the goal with three seconds left in regulation.
The Maroon and White end the season with a 12-8-2 mark. They earned their 22nd consecutive NCAA Championship bid and advanced to the second round for the 19th consecutive season.
The Utes toppled the Florida State Seminoles, 2-1, earlier in the day.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
Texas A&M Head Coach G Guerrieri
“Congratulations to Southern California, they are a great team. I think we did a great job of being able to keep them contained. Dani Rice in our defense was fantastic throughout the match, to shut out and attack like that. Then their goalkeeper made a great save. One great save, and we hit the post on the other one, but she was up to the task and they deserved to win. I didn’t think we deserved to lose, but I think a very good Southern California team now moves on.”
On the season…
“This, to an extent, was a little bit like a lot of our season. True grit, fight, determination and love for each other. We pulled through some tough times during the season, and some really tough times today during the match. We came up a bit short, but they should always be proud of the effort.”
On what you tell to returning players…
“We’ll be second guessing ourselves on different things. The biggest thing is we’re going to return the majority of this team. The majority of the players in this lineup come back, with three of our redshirts coming back next year. We’ll be excellent going forward, and these seniors have been a big part in helping propel this program to the top in the very near future.”
(© 2016 KAGS)