A&M snares share of SEC title with win over LSU
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013 23:10
From a drumming gorilla to a dancing piece of bacon, Ellis Field had all of the sights on Halloween night — including a soccer game with conference title implications.
A 3-2 Aggie victory over the LSU Tigers secured a share of the SEC regular season crown with the Florida Gators, who defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 5-1 on Thursday.
“It’s a special feeling to be a champion in this conference,” said head coach G Guerrieri. “It doesn’t matter what the sport, what the gender — the SEC is filled with great teams coached by great coaches and well supported by their fans.”
The Aggies started the game by overwhelming the Tigers with high ball pressure and energy behind an energized 12th Man. The Aggies’ onslaught of shots began early and often as they outshot the Tigers 14-0 in the first half. Despite the peppering of shots from the Aggie attackers, LSU goalkeeper Megan Kinneman kept the Tigers in the game with her eight saves in the half.
Shea Groom was the lone Aggie able to find the back of net in the first half. Groom soared through the air to finish a corner kick from junior Kelley Monogue, bringing her goal total to 12 on the season.
The second half opened with more of the same as the Aggies outshot the Tigers 17-4, totaling a 31-4 shot advantage on the night. After A&M scored just 11 minutes into the second half to pull ahead 2-0, the Tigers proved they would not go without a fight.
Just seconds after the Allie Bailey goal, LSU answered to pull within one. The goals went back and forth, but the Aggies were able to hold off the Tigers to capture their first SEC title after joining the conference in 2012.
“When the players have doubts, sometimes we just have to remind them who they really are,” Guerrieri said. “Now we can hold up an SEC trophy and show them who they are.”
Since losing their first SEC match of the year, the Aggies have rallied to win nine of 10 conference matches, a mark that Groom said can be attributed to the team’s heart.
“Coming from the bottom and finishing out the season strong says a lot about our team,” Groom said. “Heart is going to go a long way at this level of play. We formed a new motivation and just decided that we weren’t going to be beat and that’s really worked for us the last few games.”
The next obstacle for the Aggies will come in the SEC Tournament on Wednesday in Orange Beach, Ala.