Huskies Season Ends With 3-1 Loss to No. 9 Texas A&M
Nov. 16, 2008
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The University of Washington women's soccer team was unable to overcome a quick and skillful ninth-ranked Texas A&M on their home field, falling 3-1 Sunday in the NCAA Second Round at Aggie Soccer Stadium.
The Huskies finish the season with a 15-6-1 record, with five of their six losses coming at the hands of top-10 teams. UW's 15 wins are the third-most in school history and its most since earning 17 victories in 2004, the Huskies' last postseason appearance.
UW had the first scoring chance in the 10th minute when Friday's hero, senior Jenna Robison, took a shot from the top of the box, close to where her game-winner came against LSU in the First Round, but this time her shot hit the crossbar and bounced over the goal.
UW possessed the ball for the first part of the first half with the exception of a few counter attacks by the Aggies (17-4-1). Texas A&M finally broke through in the 27th minute when a UW player was given a yellow card and the Aggies' Rebecca Herrera sent toward the goal where Raven Tatum deflected it in front of the box to Laura G Robinson, who was waiting to tap it in for her seventh goal of the season.
UW had another chance late in the first half when junior Veronica Perez sent a through ball into the box and senior Melissa Beal broke free and had a shot at the net but A&M goalkeeper Kelly Dyer made a diving save to her left.
Freshman goalkeeper Kari Davidson had a couple of big punch-outs on free kicks to keep the Aggies from doing any further damage in the first half. UW took six shots in the first half to A&M's four.
The Aggies came out on the attack in the second half, adding a second goal in the 57th minute when Rachael Balaguer knocked in her first goal of the season. She fired a shot from the top of the box after the ball was deflected out following a corner kick.
A&M got another corner kick in the 68th minute which they turned into a goal. Micah Stephens sent the ball back in play to Robinson, who swung the ball over to Whitney Hooper, who then fired a shot into the lower right corner of the net past a diving Davidson.
The Huskies, who overcame a 2-0 deficit with just 30 minutes remaining in regulation to defeat LSU, 3-2, on Sunday, got on the board by an own goal by Texas A&M in the 80th minute. Nikki Murray sent in a corner kick which bounced around in the box and slipped past the A&M keeper to give UW a glimmer of hope.
While UW made a couple runs in the final 10 minutes, the Aggie defense held strong, keeping UW from its third NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in school history.
Robison and freshman Kate Deines each had three shots for the Huskies, who trailed just 15-14 in that category over the course of the match.
'We faced a tremendous challenge in coming in here and having to face such a tough team on their home field,' Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore said. 'I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for their program and their traditions and everything they stand for. We knew the environment we faced would be difficult for our kids. With that said, I think our team did a tremendous job of standing up to it. We started much better than we did against LSU and even had the better run of the play until they scored their first goal. A&M is the kind of team where in their attack, once they smell blood in the water they kind of get after it.
'Our team managed to keep playing despite being down though,' Gallimore continued. 'We are a no-quit team and that impressed me. A&M was very dangerous on re-starts and we gave them one too many but I couldn't be more proud of our team. We were picked to finish eighth in the conference and finished tied with the defending national champions for third and won a playoff game on the road despite being a very young team. I think we exceeded what everyone else expected of us.'
UW, which started just one senior on Sunday, will return in 2009 all but three players who received playing time this season. Seniors Melissa Beal, Jenna Robison and Dana Stirn have persevered through three losing seasons - including an 0-17-3 campaign in 2005 - to put together one of the best seasons in program history.
'For our seniors to have a season like this after struggling through three rebuilding seasons was important to me,' Gallimore said. 'I couldn't be more pleased that they could go out on a high note. Today was indicative of their careers in that they went down fighting and I'm proud of them.'
NCAA Women's Soccer - NCAA First Round
Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008
Texas A&M 3, Washington 1
Scoring - 1, TAMU, Laura G Robinson (Raven Tatum, Rebecca Herrera), 26:45. 2, TAMU, Rachael Balaguer (unassisted), 56:57. 3, TAMU, Whitney Hooper (Laura G Robinson, Micah Stephens), 68:24. 4, UW, Own Goal, 79:16.
Shots - UW 13, TAMU 14
Corners - UW 5, TAMU 7
Saves - UW 1 (Kari Davidson), TAMU 5 (Kelly Dyer)
Fouls - UW 15, TAMU 10
Offsides - UW 1, TAMU 3
Texas A&M 17-4-1