Women’s soccer prepares for classic A&M match-up

Sara Beth Purdy

This will be the final time the Longhorns can prove they are in the same league competitively with the Aggies. Last season Texas fought through two overtimes to draw 1-1 with their oldest rivals at home. It is not just the seniors who will be saying goodbye at the end of the game.

“I think it will be a very good game,” said head coach Chris Petrucelli. “It is such a big rivalry. It doesn’t matter what you are play for or the Big 12 standings. The game itself just takes on its own life, because it is Texas vs. Texas A&M.”

The Aggies hold the lead in the series with a record of 17-5-2, and with their departure to the Southeastern Conference next semester, this could be the Longhorn’s last shot to prove their abilities on the field where it counts.

This season the Aggies are 12-5-1 and 5-1-1 in conference play. While they are far from the sixth-ranked team they were when the teams met last, the Aggies have still commanded the pitch throughout a tough conference schedule.

“They are talented,” Petrucelli said about Texas A&M. “They always are … and they always give a great effort. I think it will be an intense match.”

Their only loss came at the hands of the University of Missouri on the road and a draw at home to Oklahoma State University, then the No. 2 team in the country. The Aggies are currently unranked nationally, but are second in Big 12 Conference standings behind Oklahoma State.

With their 1-0 shutout win against nonconference opponent Seattle University, the Longhorns have earned a 10-win season for the 11th time in 12 seasons. Their record stands at 10-6-1 going into tonight’s game with a 3-3-1 Big 12 Conference record. They are unranked nationally and fifth in the Big 12.

“We’ve played well recently,” Petrucelli said. “The record sometimes shows it; sometimes, it doesn’t. We feel good at where we are at. We have a big game coming up, a hard game coming up, but we will be ready.”

Despite being unranked, this year’s group of Longhorns has made quite an impact on the Texas record books.

Junior goalkeeper Alexa Gaul moved up to second place on the Longhorns’ career shutout list with her 18th career shutout. She trails the current record holder Dianna Pfenninger by 11 games. Gaul has also moved in to second place for career goalie victories with 29, again trailing Pfenniger, who had 54 wins during her career that spanned from 2005 to 2008.

Senior midfielder Kylie Doniak is currently ranked 87th out of all upperclassmen in the country by Soccer America, up from her 93rd rank from last season. Her 18 career goals place her 10th in the Texas career record books and she is ranked ninth in career assists with 17.

“We have worked really hard together,” said senior forward Taylor Knaack. “We’ve pushed each other, and we were all committed … We have come together and worked really hard … and it is showing on the field.”