Pilots send Aggies packing

By The Beacon | September 23, 2010 9:00pm

No. 3 Pilots clamp down on No. 6 Texas A&M, the only team to best them in 2009 regular season play

Senior Elli Reed jukes out a Texas A&M opponent in her attempt to get a Pilots goal. (Alissa White -- The Beacon)

By Kyle Cape-Lindelin, Staff Writer -- capelind13@up.edu

The taste of revenge was sweet for the Pilot women's soccer team, which finally got its chance at redemption against No. 6 Texas A&M. The Pilots sent Texas A&M home with a stinging 1-0 loss last Fri. Texas A&M only suffered one previous loss in this season, losing 0-3 to No. 1 North Carolina in their opener.

"It feels so good to beat them here at our field after losing last year at their place. I knew our fans would give us the boost and it definitely got us pumped especially after that goal," junior Taylor Brooke said following the win.

The Pilots continue to focus on the next round of tough opponents they will face when they head out onto the road to battle Pac-10 leaders No. 15 Cal (4-0-2) and No. 2 Stanford (5-0-2) on Sept. 23 and 25. These teams will be the fourth and fifth ranked teams that UP has faced this season.

A crowd of over 4,500 showed up in the rain to support the Pilots and they made their presence known with screaming chants, a rumbling drum squad and ringing cowbells.

"The crowd and the atmosphere was amazing, something I had never been a part of before," freshman Micaela Capelle said. "Every time up the field felt like the game was on the line."

The Pilots largely controlled the first half of the game, recording the first eight shot attempts and finishing the half with 12.

The Pilots finished the game with a 25-11 shot advantage.

Freshman Michelle Cruz nearly scored the first goal in the 44th minute when her shot from the top of the box bounced off Texas A&M senior goalkeeper Kelly Dyer and narrowly missed crossing the goal line before being grabbed by Dyer.

Texas A&M got off many quality shots at the end of the first period, with Pilots' junior goalkeeper Hailee DeYoung recording four saves in the game and her first shutout of the season in her second start.

"Hailee came in and did her job, it's good knowing that we have her as a option and she earned the shutout," Head Coach Garrett Smith said following his goalkeeper's performance.

The Pilots regulated the second half keeping Texas A&M on their heels and rarely allowing them a chance on offense.

"We had a dominant second half because of our fitness, it kept us going when they really started to get tired in the end and we pulled away," Brooke said.

Portland finally scored the winning goal in the 65th minute when freshman Sarah Bridges sent a cross pass to the left post where junior Halley Kreminski intercepted and finished the shot to score the lone goal of the game.

This was the second time in the last three games that Kreminski has come off the bench to score a game-winning goal, having done the same against Rutgers on Sept. 10.

Kreminski was awarded the WCC co-Player of the Week for her performance. It was also the first assist of Bridges' career.

The win pushed the Pilots' home-winning streak to 30, which includes the last two seasons.

Smith believes it wasn't the crowd or a certain play that won the game, but rather the effort his players exhibited.

"I have always said that the results will take care of itself and it's about the effort, intensity and composure we have that matters.

"We gave all those things to get this important win and the shutout," Smith said.

The Villa Maria drumsquad performs a cheer for the Pilots during the game. (Alissa White -- The Beacon)