ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – The No. 11 Texas A&M women's soccer team got an 88th minute goal from Emily Bates to top the Arkansas 2-1 in the SEC tournament championship match Sunday afternoon at Orange Beach Sportsplex. The win gave the Aggies their third SEC tournament title to go with the crowns won in 2013 and 2014.
The victory gave the Aggies 13 consecutive wins, tying the school record set in the 1994-95 seasons.
With the overtime graphic showing on the television screen, Bates worked up the late-game heroics. Dribbling on the left side of the box, the junior okey-doked an Arkansas defender, then raced toward the end line. Before entering the six-yard box, she pounded a left-footer past the keeper, who was manning the left post.
Arkansas (11-10-2) knotted the match at 1-1 just seven minutes earlier. With the ball rattling around the penalty box after a long throw-in, Parker Goins sent a looping shot from the right corner of the penalty box into the left upper 90 for the equalizer.
Texas A&M (17-2-1) owned the advantages in shots (11-7) and shots-on-goal (6-2) while Arkansas held a 5-4 edge in corner kicks.
In a first half that saw just five total shots, the Aggies got the lone tally on an own goal. A tremendous build-up of play led to Stephanie Malherbe entering the penalty box unmarked from the right side. Eight yards off the endline, Malherbe sent a cross with a pair of Aggies charging towards the goal. Arkansas defender Tori Cannata interceded and did the work for the Aggies with a sliding kick that sent the ball between the keeper and the right post for the own goal.
In the first half, Texas A&M owned a 3-1 shots and Arkansas held a 3-1 edge in corner kicks.
Mikaela Harvey earned the SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player Award. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Ally Watt, Kendall Ritchie and Emily Bates.
Texas A&M earned its eighth conference tournament crown to go with their SEC titles in 2013 and '14 and Big 12 Championship trophies in 1997, 2001, '04, '05 and '11.
With the win, Texas A&M is assured a berth in their 23rd consecutive NCAA Championship. The Aggies will await word on their NCAA championship matchup when the tournament bracket is released Monday at 3:30 p.m. CT on NCAA.com.