By Daniel Wallace
The Baylor soccer team is off to its best start since the 1996 inaugural season, when it raced out to a 10-1-1 start.
With two dramatic wins this weekend, the BU squad improved to 9-2-1. The team only scored two goals in two games, but had two 1-0 victories. On Sunday, it took extra time to knock off the Weber State Wildcats (2-8), and Friday’s victory over Texas (7-3) in Austin was not sealed until the final three minutes.
For the first time since 1997, the Bears went down to Austin and came out with a victory. Friday’s win was also the first time since 2005 Baylor beat Texas in soccer. The fifth-largest crowd in Texas history, at 3,867 people, saw the Bears knock off the Longhorns in the 88th minute.
Freshman forward Natalie Huggins found junior forward Dana Larsen for the game-winning 1-0 goal with 2:09 remaining. Junior midfielder Hanna Gilmore’s spin past a UT defender found Huggins, who found Larsen for the score.
“The goal was a good goal, but it was created by Natalie and Alexa [Wilde] and Hannah Gilmore, and Dana just finished it,” head coach Marci Jobson said. “All four of them had a great effort on it. It was a bunch of second efforts from a lot of people and it was a nice goal.”
The goal was Larsen’s fifth of the season. She also gave credit to her teammates and recognized that there was more to the goal than just the one who scored it.
“I was just standing there and touched it in,” Larsen said in a press release. “I didn’t have to do much. As usual, it was a whole team effort.”
The Longhorns matched the Bears with nine shots in the game; Baylor had six on goal.
The win improved the team to 1-1 in Big 12 conference play, its best start in conference since 2005.
Scoreless through 90 minutes, the Bears wasted no time in the extra 10 minutes of overtime; 45 seconds into sudden death, sophomore midfielder Karlee Summey lightly tapped in the wide-open goal to give Baylor the 1-0 victory. In a fight for the ball, junior midfielder Lisa Sliwinski raced down the left side of the field and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper’s head to find Summey in the center of the box, and she delivered. It was the second goal of the season for Summey and was the first assist for Sliwinski.
“At this point, we have 10 minutes to run [ourselves] into the ground,” Sliwinski said. “There’s no use saving any fuel. So I was just like, ‘I am going to go put some pressure on the keeper. If I get my toe on it, sweet.’ And I did. And Karlee just happened to be in the perfect spot.”
It was just one of those games where nothing would go in, so her goal was more luck than anything, Summey said. The Bears were able to shoot 20 times in the game, but none found the back of the net until the overtime period. The Wildcats only took one shot in the whole game as senior goalkeeper Courtney Seelhorst and the Baylor defense recorded the seventh shutout of the season.
Jobson saw much the team could improve on, but overall was satisfied with the way the team played. Jobson is just thankful to have escaped with a victory, she said.
“We could not hit the goal,” she said. “They mentally came out and fought hard. We were locked down defensively. We just needed a little more commitment to score. I think we were a little bit lazy on our technique and our finishing. At the end of the day, they found a way to win, so I’ll take it.”
The Bears improved to 7-0 at home with the win.
The Bears’ next play Texas Tech at 7 p.m. Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field.