Aggies travel for pair of league opponents
A&M matches up against Auburn and Missouri in SEC road games
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 22:10
Coming off last weekend’s dominant performance, in which Texas A&M outscored opponents by an 11-0 margin in two games, the women’s soccer team will take to the road for the second time this season as it faces Southeastern Conference rivals Auburn and Missouri on Friday and Sunday.
The Aggies (7-3-1, 2-1-0) will navigate uncharted territories when they head to Auburn, Ala., for the first time as a program to play the Auburn Tigers (4-6-1, 0-3-0).
The Aggies played the Tigers twice last season, splitting the series, but Auburn got the last laugh when it knocked A&M from the SEC tournament with a 2-0 win, a fact A&M head coach G Guerrieri and the Aggies have not forgotten.
“When we played them in Alabama at the SEC tournament, we played well for a lot of the game but didn’t finish our chances,” Guerrieri said. “[We] had to push more people forward and ended up getting counter-attacked twice by them because they’re very opportunistic.”
Auburn will be looking to bounce back after dropping both of its previous conference games, including a 7-0 pummeling by Ole Miss. Despite the early losses, Guerrieri said he is expecting a battle from a team that is known for their Friday night home play.
“Auburn has a reputation for being a hardworking, blue-collar type of team,” Guerrieri said. “Last year when we played them here, it was a pretty gritty game that we were able to kind of muscle two goals on them. I’m expecting a little bit of the same from this time. They have a very good reputation of playing on Friday nights at home, which is when we play them.”
While junior forward Shea Groom and the A&M offensive attack have been strong, the Aggie defense has been anchored by the sophomore-junior combination of Karlie Mueller and Leigh Edwards. Mueller’s defensive play combined with her five assists — four on-set pieces — this past weekend earned her the SEC Defensive Player of the Week award.
“[With] me and [Edwards] coming in as attacking players playing defense, we love to get forward and get our name in the stats,” Mueller said. “[Edwards] and I getting those balls in the box are creating so many chances for our forwards, and our forwards are getting on the end of it.”
Following their Friday match in Auburn, the Aggies have a quick turnaround in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday. Missouri (6-5-0, 2-1-0), a former Big 12 rival, will look to transfer the momentum from its Sunday victory over No. 7 Florida to their match against the Aggies.
Regardless of the long road trip ahead, the morale in the Aggie locker room could not be higher. Coming off their huge weekend, the team is prepared for the challenges ahead, and is confident they will come out with a
“This week was a recovery session for some of us — to get our feet back under us — and for others, it was just good, hardworking sessions,” Edwards said. “After this weekend, I’m expecting us to do really well, come out hard and to play really good as a team.”