Big 12 champs begin NCAA Tournament run
Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07
The No. 11 Texas A&M soccer team (15-5-2) plays in the first round of the NCAA tournament at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Ellis Field. The No. 3 seeded Aggies head into their seventh-straight NCAA Tournament appearance against Louisiana State (13-7-1). Head coach G Guerrieri said LSU is a tough opening opponent that has established itself with big wins this season.
"This is the third year in a row that we have probably the hardest first-and-second round possibilities, as far as games," Guerrieri said. "[LSU has] beaten some of the teams that are seeded in this tournament. It's a game that, for us, has to be circled and really studied. We played them two years ago and prevailed in penalty kicks."
The Aggies enter the NCAA Tournament with the top scoring offense in the nation — averaging 3.23 goals a game — led by a pair of freshmen forwards. Kelley Monogue has scored 18 goals, 45 points and nine assists, while Annie Kunz has scored 13 goals, 33 points and seven assists.
LSU was the runner-up in the Southeastern Conference this season, advancing to its fourth NCAA appearance. The Aggies and Tigers will meet for only the second time ever, with the last meeting resulting in a narrow 4-2 penalty kick decision in A&M's favor.
The Tigers ended the regular season with a 3–0 shutout against Arkansas but are coming off a 0–3 blanking in their last outing against Auburn in the SEC Championship game.
LSU is led offensively by its Canadian senior midfielder Taryne Boudreau's 12 goals, 30 points and six assists on the season. At goal, LSU's Mo Isom has compiled 57 saves and eight shutouts, allowing 20 goals in route to a 13-5 record.
With a young team comprised of 10 freshmen, the Aggies are poised for the NCAA Tournament with a healthy roster.
A&M received an automatic bid to the tournament after beating Oklahoma State to win its 12th Big 12 Tournament on Sunday, and finished second in the conference at the end of the regular season.
In the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, A&M traveled to Minneapolis, Minn., where the team played through snow and freezing temperatures to tie North Dakota State, 1–1, in double overtime. The Aggies were then eliminated by Minnesota in a 2–0 shutout.
The Aggies will look for a different result this year at home with favorable weather conditions against the Tigers.