Texas A&M soccer shut out the Mississippi State Bulldogs 3-0 on Thursday in its first game against a Southeastern Conference opponent.
The Aggies went into the matchup ranked No. 15. The Bulldogs entered unranked with a 5-3-0 season record.
A&M suffered a slow first half, but picked up the pace in the second as they fired off 15 shots, including 7 shots-on-goal after the intermission.
Jimena Lopez, Ally Watt, and Taylor Ziemer would score one goal apiece. Addie McCain added two assists while Ziemer and Lopez added a helper. Shantel Hutton earned her sixth shutout of the year with five saves while the A&M defense earned its seventh shutout of the season. The backline rotation consisted of Briana Alston, Cienna Arrieta, Jordan Hill, Grace Piper, Karlina Sample, and Callyn Walton, who held the Bulldogs to 10 shots and five shots-on-goal.
“I feel really confident with this win. I think it’s the best our team has played so far this season.” Lopez told 12thman.com. “Everybody that came in did their job and I think our passing is looking great. Our ball movement is looking really good, and most of all, our commitment, everybody fought hard, everybody played hard for each other, and it really showed on the field today. On my first goal somebody opened up the ball to me and I crossed it but I didn’t kick the ball right. Thankfully it went in.”
Lopez was not the only one who thought this was their team’s best performance of the season.
“The goal was awesome; it was a total team goal,” Ziemer told 12thman.com. “Honestly, I can’t remember how many passes we strung together but eventually the ball got to Jimena who crossed it across and slide it in. It was a goal from three yards out. It was the easiest goal you could score, but it was really an awesome goal to score because we worked so well to get it.”
Ziemer said the win gives A&M confidence moving forward.
“I thought our second half was awesome,” Ziemer said. “I think that’s the best we’ve played all season. We’re really proud, really happy just to come out and play like that, command the game, and have so many chances. We’re really proud of our performance and we just want to keep playing like that throughout the rest of the season.”
A&M head coach G Guerrieri said he is proud at how his team was able to overcome the struggle in the first half and step it up in the second even commending several key players who helped bring home the win.
“I thought that to finish the first half our players did a good job at playing out of trouble, then the second half we were able to make some adjustments and then the players went out and put it all together,” Guerrieri told 12thman.com. “Addie McCain really setting things up from the middle of midfield, that ball into Ally Watt, and the breakaway was awesome and then the buildup for all the passes that set Taylor Ziemer on her goal was also a thing of beauty. Fortunately, Jimena’s goal but it’s a great win for us three point on the road in the SEC is a well, well done night.”
The Aggies will host the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at 6 p.m. on Sunday.