By Parmida Schahhosseini
No. 5 seed Baylor played hard against No. 1 seed West Virginia, but it wasn’t enough as the Bears fell 1-0 to the Mountaineers on Friday at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City in the Big 12 Championship semifinals.
The Bears and Mountaineers both finished with 14 shots, but it was West Virginia who came pulled away with a win. With the game scoreless, sophomore defender Anjadai Seals commits a costly foul just outside the box, which led to a senior forward Frances Silva’s free kick that resulted in a goal. That goal accounts for Offensive Player of the Year’s 15 goal this season and her third in the Big 12 Tournament.
Despite taking the same amount of shots, West Virginia had five shots on goal compared to Baylor’s two. Junior goalkeeper Michelle Kloss made some critical saves in the first half, including back-to-back saves in the 23rd minute as she tipped one off the crossbar and caught a shot off of Silva‘s rebound.
Sophomore forward Bri Campos took the first shot of the game but a diving senior goalkeeper Sara Keane saved the shot. Silva took her first shot five minutes later, but Kloss saved it. Senior midfielder Kat Ludlow missed a shot wide right after a scrum inside the box at the three minutes before the half.
In the second half, both teams continued to play well. After Silva’s goal, Baylor tired desperately to get one inside the net. Its best chance came in the closing seconds of the game when Campos was awarded a free kick, but Keane saved it to end the game.
Kloss recorded four saves for Baylor, but was replaced by freshman Sara Martinson in the 80th minute. West Virginia’s offense remained dominant despite junior forward Kate Schwindel being out of the game due to an injury. Sophomore forward Kelsie Maloney and freshman forward Ashley Lawrence combined for four shots, but it was their play inside the circle and ability to possess the ball that made the difference.
With an RPI of 56, Baylor will be one of the teams on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.