By Daniel Wallace
It was a weekend of firsts for the Baylor soccer team, which was victorious on Sunday after falling on Friday. In Sunday’s home win versus the Utah Valley Wolverines (3-6) the Bears improved to 7-2-1, and two players scored their first goal of the season.
Although the team could not pull out the victory on Friday night in College Station against the Texas A&M Aggies (6-4), the lone goal was the first Baylor score against the Aggies since 2002.
Senior midfielder Christine Clark and junior forward Michelle Hagen both notched their first goals of the season in the 2-1 victory against the Wolverines. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Larissa Campos and freshman midfielder Anja Rosales both also recorded their first assists of the year.
The Baylor bench was directly responsible for all of the home team’s scoring on Sunday. Head coach Marci Jobson says she values the depth of the club because it has shown the bench can contribute to the team and allow the starters to rest.
“Our depth is important because of the way we play, how hard we play and how physical we play,” she said. “Depth is crucial. I think that our depth did a great job tonight. Clark and Hagen both carried the lead up top and were able to get Dana (Larsen) a little bit more rest than normal.”
Off a cross from Rosales, Clark netted a header from one yard out to give the Bears a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute. Being so close to halftime, the Bears were able to use Clark’s goal as momentum in the second half.
“It definitely lifted our spirits,” Clark said. “We were feeling a little sluggish toward the end and that just kept us going. It gave us a little heart, a little more fight, a little more drive to keep pushing.”
In the 51st minute, Campos found Hagen for the 2-0 advantage on a corner kick. The header was netted into the near post and surprised even the scorer.
“Larissa just played a perfect ball,” Hagen said. “It kind of curved into my head. I was just trying to get something on it. I thought it went out but I looked and it was in the goal. I just got a little touch on it.”
The Bears outshot the Wolverines 24-6, include 11-4 for shots on goal.
In the first game any Baylor team has played against Texas A&M since the conference realignment controversy magnified two weeks ago, the Bears fell 2-1 in College Station. Although the loss came in the final minutes, the Bears came out of the game optimistic and choosing to look at the positives, although disappointed in the outcome.
“It sucks to lose, but we grew from tonight,” senior defender Staz Salinas said. “My freshman year, we were just holding on and got maybe two breakaways the whole game. This year it was 50-50, even out, and A&M knows that we had them right there. That’s why they couldn’t do much. We countered, they countered, and they just finished.”
With 1:57 remaining in the ballgame and the score tied at 1-1, the Aggies’ Chelsea Jones scored the game-winning goal before a crowd of 3,251.
In the 66th minute, Campos notched her first goal of the season, which was the first goal for the Bears against the Aggies in nearly seven years. From 35 yards out, Campos drilled the penalty kick over the head of the goalkeeper and into net to tie the game at 1-1. Campos had not scored a goal in two years but was fully confident when she got the opportunity to tie the game. She credited her teammates for instilling confidence in her.
“It just felt good from the moment I put the ball down,” Campos said. “There was something about the atmosphere, about the way I was feeling. I’ve never felt more confident about something. I had my whole team behind me. And no matter where that ball went, I knew they would be there to support me the whole game.”
Jobson says she firmly believes her team can compete with any team in the nation.
Senior goalkeeper Courtney Seelhorst had five saves. Seelhorst has 30 saves on the year.