COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Senior Katie Kienstra scored her fourth goal of the season in the 70th minute Friday night, but Arkansas was unable to find an equalizer in the final 20 minutes, falling to 23rd-ranked Texas A&M, 2-1, at Ellis Field.
Texas A&M (7-2-1, 3-1-0 SEC) got two goals from Ally Watt on the night, both coming in the first two minutes of each half. Each time after the Aggies scored, Arkansas’ (6-6-1, 1-2-1 SEC) defense limited A&M’s chances and the attacking side won the possession battle, eventually breaking through with Kienstra’s goal.
“We are playing well enough to win,” Arkansas head coach Colby Hale said. “There are a lot of factors and we have to make our own luck. We are doing some good things, but there are some little things that make the difference. Playing at Texas A&M is a good challenge for us, but we aren’t a team that appreciates moral victories. We will fix some things and turn these performances into wins.”
With her four goals, Kienstra ties freshman Taylor Malham for second on the team and the score gives her 10 points for the year, making her one of three Razorbacks (Parker Goins, Stefani Doyle) with 10 or more points through the first 13 matches of the season.
Arkansas totaled 13 shots in the match to Texas A&M’s 12, with Kienstra, freshman Nayeli Perez, and freshman Taylor Malham each coming away with three shots each. Perez had one of her best matches of the year as she played a season-high 79 minutes with a team-leading two shots on goal.
Multiple times Perez was in an around the box, looking for a scoring opportunity. In the 41st minute, Perez took a free kick from the left side of the field from nearly 30 yards from the goal. A&M was expecting a cross into the box, but Perez nearly boomed it into the net before it was knocked away by the keeper.
Texas A&M 1, Arkansas 0 – 2nd Minute
Texas A&M got on the board in the second minute when Watt scored her first of two goals in the match off a counterattack, her third goal of the season.
Even after the early score, Arkansas was quick to jump on their own offensive and rattled off eight shots throughout the first half, the most in any period in the last three matches.
Along with Perez’s playmaking, Doyle and Malham got multiple looks at the net, including a right-footed shot from Doyle off a Perez corner in the 36th minute. On the play, Doyle was positioned on the far post and finished a perfect corner kick into the net, but it was brought back on a foul call by the ref.
Texas A&M 2, Arkansas 0 – 48th Minute
Arkansas was unable to equalize the match before halftime, which allowed A&M to double its advantage early in the second half, again from Watt off a rebound.
Texas A&M 2, Arkansas 1 – 70th Minute
Kienstra brought the Razorbacks within a goal in the 70th minute as she tried a cross from the left side into the middle of the box. Her kick sailed right past Reid Sibley, who made an attempt at the ball. A&M’s keeper was expecting a deflection from Sibley, but didn’t get one which allowed the ball to finish into the right side netting.
Kienstra has already set season-highs in goals (4) and points (10) this season, and is now just outside the top 10 in the conference in goals scored. Friday night’s score was also the first of her career in league play.
Friday’s match against the Aggies was Arkansas’ only match of the weekend. The team will go back on the road next Thursday to take on Auburn with first kick at 6 p.m. The match will be televised on the SEC Network.
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