It was an action packed road trip weekend as the fightin’ Texas Aggies visited the state of Florida for 3 matchups against SELC opponents. Friday night in Tallahassee A&M played a ranked Florida State (#21), Saturday they took on the University of Central Florida, and Sunday afternoon battled with the Gators of the University of Florida.
The Ags suited up under the lights of Bill Harkins Field Friday evening to challenge the Florida State Seminoles in the first of three SELC matchups.
A hard fought 1st quarter put Florida State up 3-2 over Texas A&M. The 2nd quarter saw more action with the Aggies tallying 5 goals to Florida’s 4 and sending the two teams into half time with the score tied. The 3rd quarter was tough for the Aggies, losing battles at the faceoff X and defensive end, allowing State to go up 13-9.
The story of the evening was the Seminoles faceoff victories, charging up their offense and allowing them to control the ball. They would continue to outshoot the Aggies 2 to 1 in the 3rd.
The A&M spirit remained strong in the sideline huddle. They fought back in the 4th quarter to make for quite an exciting game, getting a better handle on faceoffs and capitalizing on a Florida State penalty. The Aggie attack rallied and goals by AJ Hepting, Auggie Buerkle, and GW Bodden tied the score at 14-14 with only 2 minutes left.
A valiant effort would fall short however, as Florida State scored their final goal with 28 seconds remaining in the game to put them ahead 15-14. The Ags fought until the very end causing a turnover and clearing the ball, but could not move it near the cage in the few seconds that remained. Florida State bested the Aggies 15-14.
The setting sun shone on the Aggies Saturday evening as they took on the Knights of Central Florida in Gainsville.
A tit-for-tat battle in the 1st had UCF hanging with the visiting Aggies to end the quarter with a score of 4-3.
Hat tricks by freshman midfielder Hunter Valk and sophomore attack Mikey Jaillet gave Maroon a commanding lead through the 2nd and 3rd. AJ Hepting and GW Bodden each added a pair of goals, and Aggie midfielders Drew Johnson, Gavin Planeta, and Connor Morrison all netted one during the game. On the other end of the field, solid goaltending by Ryan Fennell held UCF to 5 goals to end the 3rd.
Momentum shifted in the 4th quarter with several transition goals by UCF, who outscored A&M 6-4. It was but a flesh wound and not enough for the Knights to topple the visiting squad. The Aggies took this matchup with a final of 14-11.
Pictures from the game can be found here.
Looking to upset the Gators after suffering a loss 13-8 last year at home, the Aggies came out strong at their matchup on the banks of the swamp. Speed between the boxes and quick ball movement netted a couple goals for maroon as the contest ramped up.
Things on the field started to get chippy in the 1st, and the quarter ended with enough laundry to fill up a Sunday afternoon. The Aggie offense capitalized on several man-up opportunities offered by the Gators, outscoring them 5-2.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, the offense couldn’t find a lane or seam in the 2nd quarter and Florida put 2 past goaltender Marco Robertson. The first half ended 5-4.
The 3rd quarter was a little better offensively for the Ags, but the Gators continued to catch up and eventually were within one goal to end the quarter 7-6 A&M.
The Gators would eventually come back and score two, putting them up 8-7 midway in the 4th quarter. The Aggies grabbed one more in the late minutes to tie up the game and with another A&M possession it looked like this match was going to overtime. However a quick turnover dashed those hopes. A run downfield and stray shot gave Florida possession behind the goal with about 30 seconds left. Goalie Marco Robertson made two key saves in the last few seconds, but a Gator pass threaded through traffic from the side-right found one of their middies for a third shot on goal. The Gators would score on that assist as the clock ticked the remaining seconds off the clock, bookending the trip with two close and hard fought losses. Gators win 9-8.
Pictures from the game can be found here.