No. 9 Texas A&M soccer kicked off its spring campaign with a 1-0 shutout of the North Texas Mean Green on Saturday afternoon at Ellis Field.
The exhibition match started with back-and-forth possessions as UNT took numerous quick shots. A&M opted to shoot less and focus more on position and placement.
That changed when A&M freshman midfielder Barbara Olivieri scored her first goal of the spring season off of a freekick in the 16th minute. The 22-yard shot sailed just above UNT goalkeeper Kelsey Brann’s hands into the top left corner of the net.
“I thought about passing it, but the other team is pretty tall,” Olivieri said. “I just took the shot and it went in. It felt really good.”
Olivieri’s goal added to her already-extensive resume. Twice named SEC Freshman of the Week during the fall 2020 season, Olivieri was also ranked the No. 13 women’s soccer player in the nation based on stats by SoccerWire.com.
“The goal that Barb scored was world-class,” A&M coach G Guerrieri said. “That’s the type of player that she is. She was one we were able to lean upon.”
The Mean Green tried their best to even the score throughout the first period, attempting a total of 17 shots in the first 45 minutes. None connected thanks to A&M sophomore goalkeeper Kenna Caldwell, who recorded six saves in the first period.
“Our defense was super solid today,” Guerrieri said. “Kenna had some super saves.”
The second period was comparatively uneventful with both A&M and UNT attempting fewer shots than in the first. The maroon and white was able to use the wind at their backs to kill the clock and maintain their lead.
“In women’s soccer, if you have a wind that's over 12 miles an hour, it’s going to have an impact on the match,” Guerrieri said. “Pure and simple.”
The Aggies’ Saturday victory extends an undefeated streak over the Mean Green in NCAA history, according to 12thman.com.
Neither team’s official record will change following the exhibition match. A&M remains 8-2-0; UNT is 0-0-0 after not playing a fall season.
“Today’s a good day for us to build upon and to get the spring started,” Guerrieri said. “For us to throw out a really young lineup that was going to be tested against a really good North Texas team, coming out with a win is a good way to go.”
The Aggies’ next exhibition competition is 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, against Baylor at the Bears’ Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field in Waco. The maroon and white’s regular season kicks off March 14 at Ellis Field against Abilene Christian.