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A&M Heads To Finals With 5-1 Victory
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SAN ANTONIO -- Katie Hamilton and Whitney Hooper scored goals less than 1 ˝ minutes apart in the second half to help Texas A&M break open a close game and land the Aggies a spot in the Big 12 Conference Soccer Championship final with a 5-1 victory over Texas on Friday night.

The second-seeded Aggies (14-5-2, 8-2-2) will play fifth-seeded Oklahoma State for the title. The Cowgirls (14-7-0, 7-5-0) knocked out top-seeded and defending champion Missouri, 3-2, in the other semifinal Friday.

The final is 1 p.m. Sunday at Blossom Soccer Stadium, and it will be a rematch of a 1-0 game that the Aggies won on Oct. 9 in Stillwater. Oklahoma State has not lost since, going 7-0 and outscoring the opposition 16-3.

A&M appears to be in top form as well. The Aggies came into the game with four-straight shutouts and five in six games. As usual, Kelly Dyer and Kristin Arnold each played a half in goal for the Aggies.

“I’m very pleased with how we defended,” Aggies coach G. Guerrieri said. “The score wasn‘t completely indicative of the match. I thought Texas did a good job.

“It was some clinical finishing by our attacking players. We’ve been outshooting people like 32-5 and winning by one goal. It’s good we’re doing this at the right time of the year.”

The Aggies lost their shutout when Erica Campanelli put in a penalty kick past Arnold in the 82nd minute.

Texas A&M came into the conference tournament off a 4-0 triumph over UT a week ago.

But it was tight early in the second half until A&M forward Nora Skelton broke free on the left side and nailed a shot onto Longhorns freshman goalkeeper Alexa Gaul. She made the save, but Hamilton was waiting in front of the goal and had an easy rebound putback in the game’s 56th minute.

“I knew I just had to get in there, and I ended up being in the right place at the right time,” Hamilton said.

Just 1:13 later, the Longhorns (9-9-3, 5-4-3) committed a careless turnover deep in their end of the field. Hooper quickly gathered it and promptly pushed it past Gaul. A&M was up 3-0 with 33 minutes remaining.

Hamilton, a sophomore from Spring, Texas, scored for the second time and put the Aggies ahead 4-0 in the 67th minute on a goal that was set up by Rachel Shipley’s corner kick.

Shipley, a junior midfielder from Plano, Texas, opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. After receiving a pass from Nicole Ketchum, Shipley drilled a kick low and left from just past the penalty arc that Gaul dived after but was just beyond her grasp.

It was only Texas A&M’s second shot of the game after the Longhorns had gotten off three. But the Aggies took over and controlled the game from there even though UT outshot A&M 9-8 for the game.

“They had four or five chances and finished them off,” Texas coach Chris Petrucelli said. “I think we had four or five chances and didn’t finish them.”

Shipley has a team-leading 22 points plus eight goals. She had scored on penalty kicks in the last two games.

A&M finally completed the scoring when Cydnie Currie got a goal with two minutes remaining.

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