No. 9 Soccer defeats No. 5 Texas A&M, 1-0, to set regular season win record
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sophomore defender Kasey Moore (Mission Viejo, Calif.) scored the lone goal of the match to lead ninth-ranked Texas over No. 5 Texas A&M, 1-0.
The Longhorns won in front of the third-largest crowd in school history (4,133 fans) in a State Farm Lone Star Showdown contest at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. En route, UT set the school record for most regular season wins with 15. It was the regular season finale for both squads.
Texas is now 15-3-1 and ends the regular season with an 8-1-1 mark in the Big 12 Conference, and picks up its seventh shutout of the season. The Longhorns finish the regular season going 11-1-1 in their last 13 games, and take a season-high six-match win streak into next week's play at the 2006 Big 12 Championship. UT, the third seed in the eight-team tourney, plays sixth-seed Nebraska in the first round at 7:30 pm (Central ) on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
TAMU entered the match riding a 10-game win streak and undefeated in the Big 12 conference. The Aggies dropped to 13-4-1 overall and 9-1-0 in the conference.
"This win gives us a lot of confidence and momentum going into the Big 12 Tournament," said Texas head coach Chris Petrucelli. "We played with intensity and emotion and were solid defensively. We limited their goal scoring opportunities. I think that was the big thing going into the match - we wanted to keep possession of the ball. They had very few chances and when they did, (UT sophomore goalkeeper) Dianna (Pfenninger) was big."
Moore found the back of net with 17:58 left in regulation. Senior Amy Burlingham (Costa Mesa, Calif.) set up Moore, who headed the ball into the left lower side of the nets. Aggie goalkeeper Kristin Arnold could not stop one of Moore's game-high five shots as she rifled the shot for the lone goal of the match.
"Kasey is such a force with her free kicks and her head," said Petrucelli. "She's been unfortunate not to score some goals. She had one opportunity earlier that Arnold saved also. She's capable of scoring a lot of goals."
Pfenninger (Sugar Land, Texas) was tested in goal as well by an Aggie team that entered the night with seven players in double-digit figures for points. Pfenninger's biggest save of the night was a point-blank shot from just two yards away as she smothered a shot off TAMU's Ashlee Pistorius' foot with just 3:17 left in the match to keep the Aggies off the scoreboard.
"That was a big play for us," commented Petrucelli. "That's the thing with Dianna. That's a ball you have to hold onto because there are so many people inside the box. (Pistorius) hit it right at her and if Dianna gives up the rebound, that's a goal for them."
Pfenninger proved quick on her feet the entire game, registering eight saves and picking up her fifth shutout of the year. One of her saves came after a scramble off a corner kick that almost produced a goal for TAMU in the first half.
"It's great to get the shutout," said Pfenninger. "They have scored a lot of goals this season. The greatest part about the game is that we defended and played together as a team. We are really starting to peak and it is at the right time, entering post season. This is a great game to end the season."
Texas A&M's Arnold had a great game in goal with seven saves.
"Playing A&M is as good a test as we're going to find," said Petrucelli. "They proved throughout the season that they are one of the best teams in the conference."
Texas out-shot Texas A&M by a 16-14 margin, and both teams had four corner kicks apiece.
In the opening half, the Longhorns started the game on the attack. UT came out of the locker room in the first period taking 10 shots at Arnold, who protected the goal and registered four saves in the first 45 minutes.
Moore had another great opportunity to score at the 22:53 mark of the match. The second-year defender sent a header off a corner kick from Stephanie Logterman, but for the fourth time in five minutes, Arnold saved the ball from crossing the line.
UT honored the six seniors - Amy Burlingham, Priscilla Fite, Ashley Foster, Dana Hall, Karen Haight and Carrie Schmit - prior to the game, as the six closed out regular season competition at Myers Stadium on "Senior Night".
"It was an awesome feeling to win the game," said midfielder Schmit. "There was no way we could have ended the season any better. For the senior class, this is our last game on our home field and we wanted to leave it all out there. The rest of our team wanted to play hard. That's the way our team is - we want to play well for each other."
Texas defeated the Aggies for the second consecutive season and the third time in the last five meetings... With her start tonight, Amy Burlingham becomes the all-time Texas leader in games played with 85 matches, including 81 starts.
Texas will play Nebraska in the opening round of the Big 12 Soccer Championships on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. (Central).