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No. 6 Texas A&M defeats No. 10 Florida, Guerrieri earns 400th win

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GAINESVILLE, Florida (Via Texas A&M) – The No. 6 Texas A&M prevailed in a donnybrook at No. 10 Florida on Thursday evening in the first match of the SEC slate. The Aggies toppled the Gators, 2-1, to nail down career win No. 400 for head coach G Guerrieri.

With the victory, the Guerrieri became the sixth coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the 400-win plateau.

The triumph also gave Texas A&M a 6-5 edge in the all-time series with the Gators and the Aggies improved to 3-1 all-time in SEC openers.

Texas A&M (6-1-0, 1-0-0 SEC) broke the scoring seal in the seventh minute of action. Ashlynn Harryman boot a free kick from 15 yards on the defensive side of the center line over the heads of the Florida backline. The service caused a race between Emily Bates for the Aggies, two back-pedaling Gators defenders and a charging Florida goalkeeper Valerie Tysinger. On the second hop, near the penalty spot, Bates was able to use her head like a seal to knock the ball over the mitts of a leaping Tysinger. The header took two bounces and beat the defenders to the goal for the 1-0 lead.

The Aggies owned slight offensive edges across the board in the first half, including shots (5-4), shots-on-goal (3-2) and corner kicks (3-2).

Texas A&M goalkeeper Taylor Saucier made two saves in the first half, including one of the spectacular variety. In the ninth minute she dove to her left to get a paw on a shot by Mayra Pelayo from 15 yards and knock it clear of the post.

After the Gators’ were the aggressors early in the second half, Stephanie Malherbe gave A&M some breathing room with her first career goal, notched in the 52nd minute. Ally Watt sent a ball into the penalty box from the right flank. Brittany Crabtree controlled the ball 10 yards out and sent a shot in. Tysinger made the save, but the carom kicked out to Malherbe who sent it home from eight yards, inflating the Aggie cushion to 2-0 with 28:11 left in the second half.

Florida (4-2-0, 0-1-0 SEC) was able to cut into the A&M advantage in the 77th minute as the team’s leading scorer Savannah Jordan was able to get her head on a ball two yards from the goal on an offering sent in by Pelayo, trimming the margin to 2-1 with 13:13 remaining in the second half.

The Gators were able to keep the offensive pressure up for the next seven minutes, but were only able to get one shot off as Saucier made a save on a header from Jordan. Texas A&M took the wind out of the Florida sails, taking the ball into the offensive half for much of the last six minutes.

By the end of the match, corner kicks were even at 6-6, but Texas A&M owned the margins in shots (11-7) and shots-on-goal (6-5).

Saucier ended the match with four saves, including two in each half.

The Aggies return to action on Sunday when they travel to Ohio for a 12 pm Central match against the Dayton Flyers.

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