SANTA CLARA, CA — The No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies fought off a relentless attack from the No. 13 Santa Clara Broncos to register a 3-2 victory in the season opener Thursday evening at Stevens Stadium.
Trailing 2-1 with just over 30 minutes remaining in the match, Addie McCain delivered an equalizer in the 59th minute and Jimena Lopez drove home a penalty kick in the 81st minute as the Aggies won a top 15 battle on the road.
Santa Clara owned the offensive numbers with the edge in shots (19-9), shots-on-goal (8-5) and corner kicks (13-2), but they were unable to manufacture a late goal to tie the match.
Ally Watt scored the first goal of the match for the Aggies, the 34th of her career. The tally moved Watt into a tie with Kristen Strutz for 10th place on Texas A&M’s career goals list. In the last two seasons, Watt has scored the first goal of the match on 10 occasions.
Texas A&M improved to 22-5 all-time in the first match of the year. The Aggies have won 15 of their last 18 season openers.
In her first career match, Texas A&M freshman goalkeeper Shantel Hutton made six big saves to keep the Maroon & White in the match.
22’ – McCain sent a thru ball from the defensive side of the center circle to Watt racing down the right inside channel. Watt scooted past one defender and sent a shot in from 9 yards past a sprawling Broncos’ keeper.
29’ – Isabella D’Aquila took advantage of an errant clearance by the Aggie backline. She gathered the ball and fired from 22 yards out at the top of the penalty arc to the left of the Texas A&M keeper for the equalizer. A&M 1, SC 1.
51’ – Julie Doyle sent a diagonal ball into the six-yard box from the left side. Kelsey Turnbow was able to punch a ball into goal from the right post. SC 2, A&M 1.
58’ – Watt sent a ball to Ali Russell who was charging into the penalty box. Russell drew three defenders and one of them jarred the ball loose, but it rolled to the feet of McCain who sent in a missile from 12 yards. A&M 2, SC 2.
81’ – Lopez drew a foul in the box. She stepped up to the spot and delivered the game-winner with the penalty kick. A&M 3, SC 2.
The Aggies return to California action Sunday when they travel to Malibu for a 3 p.m. contest against the Pepperdine Waves.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Head Coach G Guerrieri
On the match…
“That’s great result for us. I have so much respect for Jerry (Smith) and his team. They had the majority of the possession, especially in the first half, but I was proud of the way our women hung in there and found a way to come-from-behind for the win.”
Senior forward Ally Watt
On the match...
“That was a huge win. Santa Clara is a really good team and they had us on our heels early. But we just kept fighting. Addie (McCain) came up with the great pass on my goal and then she scored a great goal of her own with Ali (Russell) battling in the box. And Jimena fought hard to draw the penalty. She deserved to take the PK and I knew she would bury it.”