Aggie soccer kicks off fall sports calendar

As of Saturday night, Texas A&M athletics has officially kicked off its fall schedule and the 12th Man Team Rewards has begun. In front of an impressive 1,500 fans, the Aggie soccer team gave fans a glimpse of what the 2007 Aggies will look like, and Aggie Websider's Blake Berend was there to check it out.

Aggie soccer officially kicked off with its Maroon and White inter-squad scrimmage on Saturday in front of an estimated1,500 fans, and the Aggie Soccer complex came to life allowing A&M soccer fans their first glimpse of the 2007 Aggie squad—which is a favorite to win the Big 12 once again in 2007, with a shot at the Final Four in College Station in early December.

The Aggies played a nine-on-nine scrimmage which created more ground for the players to cover and opened up the game.

Ashlee Pistorious started the scoring for the white team, just two minutes after the whistle. Freshman Inge Harding evened the score five minutes later for the maroon team at 1-1. Pistorious moved the ball directly to the feet of Allison Martino who rocketed a shot from the left wing to put the white team back on top in the 17th minute.

Melissa Garey found the head of freshman Rachel Shipley minutes later, who slipped the ball past Kelly Dyer for the goal.

"It was nice to see the freshmen able to finish their chances tonight," said head coach G. Guerrieri.

With a few seconds remaining in the first period Laura Grace Robinson put the Maroon team within one on a shot into the upper right corner.

The second half provided some more offensive fire power as Pistorious added to her point total by adding another goal off an assist from Allison Martino.

The maroon team added one more when Inge Harding added her second goal of the night off an assist from Rachel Shipley.

"I was real pleased with all of their performances tonight," Guerrieri said. "In a 50-minute game, to be able to create 22 shots is a good start to our season. It's a good way for us to see some things we want to work on and improve on as we get ready for our next test."

The incoming freshman looked strong in their first outing in front of their home crowd. the most dynamic of was Whitney Hooper. Originally signed for the 2006 season, Hooper's long awaited arrival was a highly anticipated event for most of the Aggie soccer regulars in attendance.

Aggie fans are no strangers to speed with the likes of Allison Martino and Elisabeth Jones streaking down the sidelines, but Hooper's speed up front will cause fits for defenders this year and should ease up the pressure on preseason All-Big 12 selection Ashlee Pistorious. Her speed allowed her to run past some of A&M's best defenders on Saturday, and once she becomes more confident with her shot, she will be a force to reckon with for A&M opponents.

Rachel Shipley also looked impressive in the mid-field and should be a compliment to the already stellar mid-field of Laura Grace Robinson and preseason All-Big 12 selections Amy Berend and Paige Carmichael. Back-up goal keeper and Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year Kelly Dyer looked extremely capable of playing at the Division I level, which will keep the pressure on Soccer Buzz Freshmen All-American goal keeper Kristin Arnold.

Micha Stevens and Amber Gnatzig returned from injury to play without trouble. Gnatzig will be moved to the backline this year to replace the loss of Linda Pierson.

Emily Peterson is still sidelined with injuries and did not participate in the scrimmage.

The Aggies return to action on Saturday, August 25th at 6:00PM against the University of Florida in Gainsville. Florida is also pre-season ranked in the top ten and should provide a great measuring stick for the Aggies.

Earlier in the day the team and coaching staff hosted more than 150 fans for Aggie Soccer 101 in the Zone Club at Kyle Field. The event lived up to the billing as an overview of the game of soccer, but also provided some insight into the coaching philosophy of Coach Guerrerri and staff. Coach G pointed out the main difference between soccer and many other team sports are that the 17 Laws of Soccer are not written in stone, and are often times bent, depending on the team, venue and country.

Senior captain Melissa Garey also used the opportunity to share her thoughts on each player including some interesting information about who snores while they sleep, who is the personality of the team, and letting us know that Kristin Arnold is a normal keeper (apparently most keepers are not). On a side note, Melissa thinks that Laura Grace Robinson has the "prettiest blue eyes."

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