Fifth-ranked Texas A&M wore the No. 1 seed badge well Friday, putting in a solid-to-sometimes-spectacular effort to down Houston Baptist 5-0 in the first round of the NCAA women's soccer tournament on a brisk night at Ellis Field.
It was the Aggies' first NCAA tournament match as a top seed and the Huskies' first match in the tournament. The difference was evident from the start.
"It was a good statement game for our team," A&M coach G. Guerrieri said. "We had 18 or 19 shots on goal, so I thought that was good and the fact that everybody got out there was good. Whenever we made a substitution the level continued and we did a really good job."
A&M (19-2-2) advanced to the second round for the 17th straight season and will host Arizona on Nov. 21 at a time to be announced.
Arizona advanced by shutting out Oklahoma State 1-0 on Friday in Stillwater, Oklahoma. A&M and Arizona tied 2-2 in Tempe, Arizona, at Arizona State's stadium in early September.
A&M senior Kelley Monogue made her statement early Friday, redirecting in a pass from Annie Kunz in the fourth minute. Seven minutes later Monogue ran down a cross from Bianca Brinson and knocked in a shot from the corner of the box along the turf just inside the far post for a 2-0 lead.
"It was a little bit of a culture shock, maybe a different atmosphere than we are used to playing in, and the game just kind of got way from us," Houston Baptist coach Misty Jones. "We weren't quite as disciplined as we had hoped, but to be honest, we haven't seen ... A&M is the best opponent we've faced this year. They were quicker, moved the ball a lot faster. We prepared for it, but preparing for it and playing against it is a little bit different."
Monogue had her third multiple-goal game of the season but just her first since Aug. 29. She is second on the team with 13 goals, while Kunz and Brinson both served up their seventh assists of the season.
Allie Bailey gave A&M a 3-0 lead in the 24th minute off a rebound of a Kunz shot.
In the second half, Brinson converted a slick pass from Shea Groom for a 4-0 lead in the 56th minute. Groom then scored unassisted in the 61st minute, picking the pocket of a defender near the top of the box and thumping it into the far corner for her team-leading 15th goal.
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