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Hooper Leads Aggie's Over Nebraska

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M sophomore Whitney Hooper scored two
second-half goals to lead the seventh-ranked Aggie soccer team to a 2-0
shutout of Nebraska on Senior Night Friday evening at the Aggie Soccer
Stadium.



After A&M's seniors, Laura Grace Robinson and Micah Stephens, were
honored in front of 3,285 fans, Hooper netted her second and third goals
of the season and sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Dyer recorded her fourth
shutout of the year to keep A&M (11-1-1, 4-0-1 Big 12) atop the Big12.
Nebraska (7-6-1, 3-2-0 Big 12) suffered their second-straight conference
loss.



"Nebraska has their own style and they played great tonight," said head
coach G Guerrieri. "We had to play outstanding. To shutout this Husker
team, with the confidence and the passion they play with, is a pretty
good accomplishment for our young back line. This team continues to
amaze a lot, in that they keep coming. We're so much better now than we
were at the beginning of the year and I think the best is still ahead of
us."



A&M put pressure on Nebraska in the first half as the midfield and the
back line controlled possession and opened up several scoring
opportunities.



Five minutes into the match, Robinson rifled a shot from 15 yards that
Husker keeper Brittany Pfeil punched out. Sophomore Alyssa Mautz
sprinted into the six-yard box getting a foot on the rebound and then
had another chance that bounced off the near post and behind the end
line.



In the 21st minute, Robinson was on the left flank and sent a pass to
junior Amber Gnatzig on right side. The Humble, Texas, native found Beth
West at the top of the box and a hard shot on the ground by the freshman
was stopped by Pfeil.



Freshman Bri Young had two chances on free kicks from long distance that
she was able to put on goal, but not past the Husker keeper.



The Aggies outshot Nebraska 13-3 in the first half and forced Pfeil to
make seven saves, as A&M and Nebraska went into the 15-minute break
scoreless.



On senior night, one of the best struck balls came off the foot of
Robinson in the 59th minute as she sent a laser from 30 yards that just
missed the frame. Minutes later, the Houston, Texas, native set up A&M's
first goal lofting a ball in to Hooper on the right side. From the
corner of the six-yard box, the sophomore fired the ball across the goal
and into the back of the netting to put the Aggies up 1-0.



While facing a one-goal deficit, the Huskers put pressure on A&M's
defense with perhaps their best opportunity to equalize coming on a
corner kick in the 65th minute. Selenia Iachelli shot the ball on goal
with a header that freshman Rebecca Herrera saved off the back post. A
second chance by Anna Caniglia was stopped by a diving Dyer on the line.



The Aggies were not satisfied with a one-goal lead and struck again in
the 86th minute. Freshman Rachael Balaguer cleared the ball to Gnatzig
who had space and passed it off to West on the right side. The
Centennial, Colo., product got around a Husker defender and laid a ball
across the face of the goal that a sliding Hooper drove into the back of
the net.



"We challenged our forwards at half time to do more. I thought they all
picked up their game and obviously Whitney getting two goals was huge,"
said Guerrieri.



With the win, A&M improves to 11-13-1 all-time against Nebraska. The
Aggies outshot the Huskies 20-12, with nine strikes on frame.



A&M soccer returns to the pitch on Sunday to host the Cyclones of Iowa
State at 1:30 p.m.
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