ORANGE BEACH, Alabama – Ally Watt tied the Texas A&M single-game record for goals as the No. 11 Aggies toppled the Missouri Tigers, 7-1 in SEC Tournament quarterfinal action Tuesday afternoon at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.
Watt tallied four goals on the afternoon to tie the mark accomplished twice by Ashlee Pistorius. Pistorius set the record against Baylor in 2005 and equaled her own mark again against Baylor in 2007.
The seven goals smashed Texas A&M’s mark for an SEC Tournament match. The old Aggie mark was three against Georgia in the 2013 quarterfinal round. The most goals the Aggies scored in an entire SEC Tournament was five in both 2013 and 2014, two years in which Texas A&M captured the tournament title. The tally marked a new league tournament record for the Maroon & White, besting the six goals they scored against Iowa State in a Big 12 Championship quarterfinal game in 1998.
Texas A&M came up one goal shy of the SEC Tournament record set by Arkansas in an 8-0 win vs. Auburn in a semifinal match in 1993 and equaled by Vanderbilt in an 8-3 win against Arkansas in a 1997 quarterfinal bout.
The Aggies broke the scoring seal in the fourth minute. From the center circle, Addie McCain found Emily Bates at the right corner of the penalty box. Bates drew the attention of two defenders, leaving Watt unmarked on a run to the penalty spot. Watt used her left foot to put the perfect offering into the right side netting on her first touch.
Texas A&M stretched the lead to 2-0 in the 12th minute. McCain sent a ball from 35 yards out in the middle of the pitch to Watt sprinting to the right of the penalty arc. Watt wasted no time pushing a low driving ball to the left of the keeper and inside the left post.
The hat trick goal was set up when Kendall Ritchie raced off the back line and sent a ball down the left inside channel from 10 yards on the defense of side of the center stripe. She threaded her ball through two defenders finding Watt in full stride. Watt received the ball 25 yards out and found herself one-on-one with the keeper eight yards off her line. The All-SEC First Teamer drove a shot to the right of the keeper for her first career hat trick just 19:06 into the match.
In the 27th minute, Missouri showed some life when Jessica Johnson scored on an assist from Sarah Luebbert.
Texas A&M regained the momentum heading into the half as Jimena Lopez forced a Missouri hand ball in the penalty box on her cross from the end line. Lopez took the PK and sent it home with no problem to give the Maroon & White a 4-1 edge after 45 minutes.
In the 47th minute, Watt tied the Aggies’ single-game record with her fourth goal. Bates controlled the ball at the PK spot and worked back toward the top of the box, drawing the central defender with her. Watt raced past two defenders from the right into the vacated area as Bates slipped in a pass. Watts poked a shot from eight yards out, sliding it between the keeper and the right post.
Cosette Morché stomped out Missouri’s glimmer of hope in the 53rd minute when she stonewalled a penalty kick by Missouri’s leading scorer Luebbert.
The cavalcade of goals continued in the 56th minute. Grace Piper sent a howitzer over the backline into the penalty box from the left of the center circle. Stephanie Malherbe controlled the ball at the right corner of the penalty box and worked her way towards the PK spot before ripping a left-footed shot into the left side netting for her second goal of the season.
Claudette Lassandro put the icing on the cake in the 76th minute with her first goal of the season. Brittany Crabtree dumped a diagonal ball into the box from 25 yards out on the left of the penalty box. Lassandro tracked the ball down two yards left of the spot and drilled a left-footer for the dagger.
Morché made nine saves on the afternoon.
Texas A&M advances to the semifinal round Thursday where the Maroon & White will face the Florida Gators in a 6:05 p.m. match. Florida bested Auburn, 1-0, in their quarterfinal match Tuesday.
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