Story by Thomas Dick, Texas A&M Athletics Communications
STILLWATER, Oklahoma – The No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies and Oklahoma State Cowgirls played to a 1-1 draw through 110 minutes of action Sunday afternoon at Neal Patterson.
The Aggies were unable to capitalize on a huge 20-9 advantage in shots in the match, relinquishing the equalizer to Oklahoma State with 3:57 left in regulation.
The Maroon & White had three opportunities to put a golden goal on the board in the second overtime, but Oklahoma State goalkeeper Evie Vitali made a diving save to stop on a header by Maile Hayes to the right post and gobbled up a booming shot by Macie Kolb with 90 seconds of action left to preserve the tie. Lauren Geczik also had a free kick opportunity in the 102nd minute, but it went north of the cross bar.
Hayes staked the Aggies to a 1-1 lead in the 13th minute with extraordinary skill and effort to get past a pair of Cowgirls and then blasted a booming shot from 22 yards to beat Vitali to the right.
Compared to last May’s Sweet 16 donnybrook, the first half was played with relative calm. The Maroon & White owned the advantages in shots (6-3) and shots-on-goal (3-1) while corner kicks were even at 1-1.
The Aggies were unable to benefit from two chances to register insurance goals in the second stanza. A Geczik free kick from 20 yards was saved by Vitali and Taylor Pounds had an unmarked header on a corner kick that was set over goal.
The triumph also stretched the Aggies’ home win streak to 14 matches, tied for the sixth-longest string in school annals.
Kenna Caldwell made saves on two shots by Gabriella Coleman – a diving save at the right post in the 75th minute and a kick save from point blank range in the 83rd minute to keep the Maroon & White out front. However, Caldwell was unable to corral the equalizer in the waning moments. Coleman sent a fluttering cross that a leaping Caldwell was unable to punch away. Hannah Webb poked a ball that bounded slowly toward the goal, but no Aggie defender was able to clear it off the line.
The Aggies moved to 4-2-1 on the year while the Cowgirls check in at 3-3-1.
13′ – Receiving a throw-in from the center stripe along the left touchline, Maile Hayes rainbowed a ball to herself over a marking midfielder and raced toward the penalty box. Mia Pante charged on a run into the box, drawing to defenders and opening a window for Hayes to boom a shot from 22 yards past the keeper on the right. A&M 1, OSU 0.
87′ – Gabriella Coleman played a lofting cross from outside the penalty box on the right end line over a leaping Texas A&M goalkeeper. Hannah Webb chipped it past a defender at the 6-yard box and it bounded toward the goal. A&M 1, OSU 1.
The Aggies continue on the road Friday, traveling to Lexington for their SEC opener against the Kentucky Wildcats. First kick is slated for 6 p.m.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On the match…
“This was a tough match against a talented Oklahoma State side. They are really really good at their home stadium. The tie feels a little bit like a loss because we played well enough to win this thing. We had it won had we not given up a goal late. You have to play until there are zeroes on the clock. That’s one of the lessons we learned. We had some really good performances, but we have some lessons to learn. We have to learn how to finish off scoring chances – 20 shots, you have to put more of those away.”
On SEC play being on the horizon…
“This was another road test that we can learn from. Going into Lexington on Thursday is going to be really tough. Playing at The Bell is never easy and Kentucky has a lot of fire power we’ll have to deal with.”