Perhaps the biggest surprise in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division I Women's Tournament is the presence of Texas A&M. The Aggies, who struggled late in the season, have gotten hot in the postseason and reached the quarterfinals, where they will meet North Carolina Friday in Chapel Hill.
A&M (18-4-1) advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the fourth time in the program's history with a 2-1 win at Florida on Sunday. They came back from a goal down and won on goals by Laura Grace Robinson and Jennifer Kmezich 46 seconds apart late in the first half.
Coach G Guerrieri has the youngest team in the quarterfinals. He started five freshman starters against Florida, and all three subs, including Kmezich, were freshmen.
Starters Beth West, Rachel Herrera and Amber Gnatzig and Kmezich all played club ball together for Real Colorado National.
"I'm proud of our players and the effort that they put in because I thought it was a great match," Guerrieri said after the Florida match. "They put us under a ton of pressure and our defense held really well."
A&M started 12-1-2 before losing back-to-back games to Kansas and Missouri in Big 12 play. The Aggies lost to Kansas a second time when they fell, 4-2, in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
A&M's only loss in its first 15 games came when it lost to North Carolina, 3-2, on Aug. 29. The Aggies came back from two goals down to tie the score thanks to a pair of goals from Gnatzig.
TEXAS A&M STARTERS:
G Kelly Dyer, SOPH. Germantown, Tenn.
D Amber Gnatzig, FR. Humble, Texas
D Brianne Young, FR. Castle Pines North, Colo.
D Emily Peterson, JR. Tulsa, Okla.
D Micah Stephens, SR. Flower Mound, Texas
M Laura G. Robinson, SR. Houston, Texas
M Rachel Shipley, SOPH. Plano, Texas
M Beth West, FR. Centennial, Colo.
M Rebecca Herrera, FR. Aurora, Colo.
F Whitney Hooper, SOPH. Houston, Texas
F Raven Tatum, FR. Dallas, Texas