Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Junior Chelsea Jones netted a goal in the 88th minute that gave the No. 21 Texas A&M soccer team (5-4, 1-0 Big 12) a late 2-1 victory over Baylor (6-2-1, 0-1 Big 12) in the first conference match of the season, Friday at Ellis Field.
"I was real pleased with the way that our players were able to keep their composure," head coach G Guerrieri said. "One of the things that's great about Chelsea Jones is her range. Her cardiovascular fitness is really special. She has the ability to cover a lot of ground."
The Aggies never let the Bears set up an offense, keeping the ball in their possession for the majority of the match. A physical Baylor team led A&M in fouls, 15-to-12. Both teams had one yellow card each.
"I think that the difficult schedule we've played has helped us in a game like this," Guerrieri said. "A goal will go against a run of play, you know, one lucky shot and they're back in the game. They had ten shots and I bet they only completed ten passes the whole game as well. Those are hard teams to play against because there's no rhythm to the game and they're trying to make it as chaotic as possible."
After controlling the field for much of the first half, junior Beth West gathered the ball at the top of the Aggie attacking third in the 38th minute and chipped a pass in to freshman Annie Kunz, who was waiting at the top of the six yard box. The ball bounced around before Kunz gained control. Surrounded by defenders and Baylor Goalkeeper Courtney Seelhorst, Kunz crashed in toward the goal and sent a header into the net for the 1-0 lead going into halftime.
The Aggies came back onto the pitch in the second half with a vengeance, fighting to gain a steady rate of play, while keeping the ball in their attacking half.
A goal by Baylor in the 66th minute evened the match at 1-1 when midfielder Larissa Campos scored off of a free kick taken from 25 yards.
"You get into these games where we have most of the possession, and the constant situation of them fouling us every time we have the ball," Guerrieri said. "It's a real challenge for a soccer team be able to deal with a team that wants to come in and kick you and disrupt play and try to get out of here with a 0-0 result, if possible. I was real pleased with the way that we were able to keep them under pressure, the way that our defense was able to read the cues and to be able to keep the ball in their half."
The Aggies battled to regain the lead and in the 87th minute West sent a zinger to the goal from 25 yards. Seelhorst dove and pounced on the ball when it popped out of her glove.
A&M won possession off of the goal kick and senior Merritt Mathias kept hold of the ball. After eluding two defenders in the corner of the field, Mathias dribbled along the end line and sent a pass in to Jones, waiting in the six-yard box. With 1:50 left on the clock, Jones headed the ball past the diving Baylor goalie and into the back left corner of the netting.
"It was really a great effort by Merritt to set it up and put the ball into that position," Guerrieri said. "It was a very dramatic win. Now we're top of the league and just have to take care of business on Sunday before we have another week of hard training."
The Aggies kept the ball in their offensive third as the clock ran out on regulation play and A&M took a 2-1 victory in their first conference match of the season.
A&M posted a 20-to-10 shot deficit, while taking 12 corner kicks and allowing only two. Both corners by Baylor were back-to-back in the second half. Aggie goalkeepers Renée McDermott and Jordan Day grabbed two saves each. Seelhorst was forced to make five saves on the match.
A&M Soccer Prosecutes Baylor 2-1
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