The fifth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies (9-2-1, 3-1-0) return home to battle their arch-rival the top-ranked Texas Longhorns (9-1-2, 2-0-1). This will be the 18th meeting between the two schools with A&M holding a commanding lead on the series at 14-3-0. The Longhorns have won 3 of the last 4 meetings all taking place in Austin. This will also be Texas A&M's 6th ranked opponent to battle on the season and the first to come in to the Aggie Soccer Complex.
Emotions will be running high as the seniors who came in as the number 1 ranked recruiting class in the nation have proved their athletic prowess in the trophy cabinet, but have a 2-2 record against the Longhorns. They will be looking to make a statement to solidify a top 5 ranking and a number 1 seed for the upcoming NCAA tournament.
The Longhorns are led by a veteran/rookie 1-2 punch at the forward position with Kelsey Carpenter and Niki Arlitt. They have combined to score 14 of the Longhorns 26 goals on the season. Texas will be still getting senior Caitlin Kennedy back into a rhythm as she returns from an early season injury. Kennedy has been a staple in the mid-field of the Longhorns and will provide leadership in the middle.
The Aggies will look to extend their win streak to 4 – behind the strength of their senior leadership. Up front the Aggies will need the poise and stability that Ashlee Pistorius has provided her entire career. Combined with the tenacity of Melissa Garey and the lightning quick feet of Whitney Hooper the attack of Texas A&M will provide a tough test for the Texas defense.
The midfield will need strong play from Amy Berend who dominated the midfield in the second half of the Aggies's 2-1 win over Oklahoma State. Combined with Elizabeth Jones and Rachel Shipley on the wings, as well as Laura Grace Robinson and Amber Gnatzig in the middle the Aggies will look to control the speed of play and make quick passes to make the Longhorns chase. With the deep bench that does not drop off in talent, the Aggies can overwhelm the Longhorns with fresh legs.
Blake's Fearless Prediction: Texas A&M 3 - Texas 1
· The Longhorns dropped or did not move in every poll this week except the Soccer America poll (the poll giving them their number 1 ranking) after tying unranked Iowa State on the road and using OT to be defeat Nebraska 2-1 at home.
· Nicole Ketchum used her two goal weekend to propel herself to Big XII Defensive player of the week, Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the week, and the Top Drawer Soccer Women's College Team of the Week.
· Although the game does not start until 7:30PM I would recommend arriving at a minimum of one hour early in order to assure you get a seat.
No. 5 A&M hosts No. 1 Texas
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