[TEXAS A&M-TEXAS]On the first weekend of play in the NCAA Division I Women's Tournament, no game was bigger than the Texas A&M-Texas game in College Station, and it certainly lived up to its billing.
Despite pouring rain and the threat of hail and thunderstorms that delayed the start of the game for 50 minutes, 2,438 fans showed up at Aggie Soccer Stadium -- the largest crowd of the weekend -- to watch A&M and UT put on a show.
They combined for five goals -- the most of any of the 15 second-round games -- and Texas emerged the winner in their third meeting of the season, 3-2.
For Texas, the victory was redemption of sorts for not being seeded in the NCAA Tournament despite beating A&M six days earlier in the Big 12 tournament final.
For the No. 2 seed Aggies, their dream of playing on their home field in three weeks at the Women's College Cup was over. For Aggie senior Ashlee Pistorius, the nation's top scorer with 25 goals and A&M's all-time leader with 81 goals, her career was over on an evening when she was shut out.
The Longhorns' win snapped A&M's 20-game winning streak and moved them into the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.
Things couldn't have started any worse for UT, though. The Longhorns fell behind in the first half came when defensive stalwart Kasey Moore headed the ball over her goalkeeper, Dianna Pfenninger, for an own goal.
But the Longhorns stormed back in the second to get three unanswered goals from freshman Erica Campanelli (her first goal) and seniors Caitlin Kennedy (shot from 35 yards) and Kelsey Carpenter (13th career game winner to tie the UT record).
"The response of our team at halftime was probably the most important part of the game for us," said Texas coach Chris Petrucelli. "I felt we laid down a little in the first half."
Weather was a factor, according to A&M coach G Guerrieri.
"[The weather] made this a completely different game," he said. "But both teams had to play in it. It's part of what the game is. You've got to be able to play in whatever is out there. It did have a major effect, especially in the second half. In the second half, with the rain and the wind in our face, we didn't do well in the first 15 minutes. That's when they got back in the game. A couple mistakes allowed them to take the lead again."
The Aggies outshot Texas, 23-13, but could only score once in the second half on Sara Albrecht's goal in the 83rd minute. Afraid that the slick ball would slip through her hands, Pfenniger spent the final minutes punching everything A&M threw at her.
Nov. 17 in College Station, Texas
Texas A&M 2 Texas 3.Goals: own goal 23, Albrecht 83; Campanelli (Gaines) 54, Kennedy 72, Carpenter (Kennedy) 79.
Texas A&M --Arnold, Albrecht, Ketchum, Carmichael, Stephens, Gnatzig, Shipley, Martino, Berend, Garey, Pistorius. Subs: Robinson, Hooper, Jones.
Texas --Pfenninger, Gilbeau, Carter, Moore, Imber, Campanelli, Kennedy, Gaines, Arlitt, Carpenter, Anderson. Subs: Birkhold, Campise, Ortiz, Gibson.