Women's soccer: Texas A&M downs No. 6 Florida with defender's first career goal
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Aggies scored a 2-1 victory over the No. 6 Florida Gators Thursday evening at Ellis Field with the game-winner coming on Kendall Ritchie's first career goal.
It marked the second win of the year for the Maroon & White over a Top 25 opponent, in addition to their 5-1 victory at then-No. 19 Kansas on Sep. 10.
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Ritchie scored the game-winner in the 66th minute. Taking a free kick from 45 yards out left of the center circle, the left-back sent a boomer that arced over goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese, who was playing two steps outside the six-yard box, before tucking under the crossbar.
Texas A&M (5-2-1, 1-1-0 SEC) broke the scoring seal in the 34th minute off the foot of Cienna Arrieta. Arrieta, who entered the match in the 32nd minute, received a throw-in from Emily Bates, took one touch to clear the defense and then uncorked a low, driving shot from 25 yards out right of the arc. The missile found a sliver between the left post and a diving Marckese for the ice-breaker.
The Aggies took a 1-0 lead into the intermission of an evenly contested first half. The shots were even (8-8) and the Maroon & White held slim edges in shots-on-goal (4-3) and corner kicks (2-0).
Florida (7-2-0, 1-1-0 SEC) pounced on the Aggies for an equalizer just 89 seconds into the second half. Gabby Seiler and Deanne Rose worked a two-player combo to net the goal. Seiler sent a pass from the center line to Rose just outside the offensive side of the circle. Rose played the ball back to Seiler who was on the charge. Seiler drove a ball towards the top of the penalty box and a race ensued between three Aggie defenders, goalkeeper Cosette Morché and a sprinting Rose. Rose won the race flicking a shot off the first bounce over Morché at the penalty spot. The volley took one bounce before finding the goal.
Texas A&M was unlucky on two occasions with Ally Watt hitting the crossbar from 15 yards out in the 25th minute. In the second half, Stephanie Malherbe blasted a shot from 20 that hit the wrong side of the left post.
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Morché logged four saves in goal for the Aggies with her biggest coming in the 37th minute when she stonewalled a shot by Melanie Monteagudo from seven yards out.
The victory gave the Aggies' a 7-6 edge in the all-time series against their intersectional rivalry.
Texas A&M returns to action Sunday when they travel to Columbia for a 5:05 p.m. contest against the Missouri Tigers.