LU falls to No. 6 Texas A&M, 1-0
COLLEGE STATION – Senior goalkeeper Lauren Lovejoy made spectacular save after spectacular save for Lamar University, but a fluke own goal was the difference as No. 6-ranked Texas A&M held off the more than game Cardinals for a 1-0 win in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament First Round game at Ellis Field Friday night.
Lamar ends its historic season with an 18-4-1 overall record. It was a season of firsts for the Cardinals. First regular season conference title, first conference tournament title and first NCAA appearance in the 11-year history of the program.
All those firsts will leave lasting memories for the 2017 Cardinals student-athletes, coaches and fans of the program. For some of these Cardinals, it’s just the beginning as there were six underclassmen that saw significant playing time that are returning for next season. This kind of experience will only help them and the program going forward.
“I’m incredibly proud of this team and what they’ve accomplished this year,” said second-year coach Steve Holeman. “We’ve come a long way in one season and when we drew Texas A&M we obviously knew it was going to be an incredible challenge, the No. 6 team in the country and the No. 2 seed at their place. It was going to be an incredible environment.
“I thought our girls handled it extremely well. We knew we were going to have to defend and that’s exactly what we did today. We knew our chances would probably be limited. I thought we defended extremely well,” added Holeman.
Statistically, Texas A&M held a distinct advantage, but could not get a shot past Lovejoy and the rest of the Lamar defense. The Aggies out shot Lamar 20 to five, including 10 to one in shots on goal. Texas A&M had nine corner kicks to three for the Cardinals.
Freshman Lucy Ashworth led Lamar with two total shots, including one on goal. Freshman Juli Rocha had the other shot on goal for the Lady Cardinals. Lovejoy made nine saves for the Cardinals.
“It’s a great feeling to go out on this sort of game and it was a really great game by everybody,” said Lovejoy. “If they had to score an own goal to beat us, then so be it. I’m so proud of the team. I’m so proud of how hard everybody worked and how much effort they gave. It’s an amazing feeling coming off a game like that no matter what the outcome was.”
The Aggies started the scoring with an own goal at 7:40 of the first half. The Aggies Ally Watt crossed a ball to the front of the net from the left side and Lovejoy was able to deflect the ball further out front. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the deflected ball ricocheted off Lamar defender Tori Alaniz and into the goal. That represented the game’s only goal.
Lamar attempted three shots in the first half, none of which were on goal. Ashworth, Madison Ledet and Juliana Ocampo each one shot for the Cardinals.
Texas A&M had nine shots in the opening half, four of which were on goal. The Aggies also had five corner kicks in the opening stanza to zero by the Cardinals.
“It’s obviously tough (losing), but we played our hearts out,” said junior Kelso Peskin. “I’m so proud of these girls. We achieved everything we wanted to achieve, and coming here was a big achievement. It’s just one step closer to next season, and what we’re going to do and achieve next year.”
Texas A&M improves to 18-2-1 on the season and will play the winner of the Notre Dame-IUPUI game next weekend. Ally Watt led the Aggies with six total shots, including four shots on goal. Cienna Arrieta added four shots, one on goal and Kendall Ritchie had two shots on goal. Cosette Morche made two save in goal for the Aggies.