By Daniel Wallace
On the final weekend of the regular season, Baylor soccer split two games against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls and the Oklahoma Sooners.
The Bears fell to the No. 2 ranked Cowgirls 1-0 on Friday night in front of the fifth-largest crowd in program history, as 1,008 fans made their way out to Betty Lou Mays Field. Women’s soccer then finished the regular season on a high note, surging past Oklahoma 3-1 on Sunday.
On Friday evening, Oklahoma State (16-0-1, 5-0-1) scored the only goal of the game in the fifth minute. The ball came off the foot of a Baylor defender 20 yards out from the goal and right to Oklahoma State’s Kristen Kelly, who kicked it off the lower part of the crossbar and straight down across the goal line for the early 1-0 Cowgirl lead. The Bears held their own against the Cowgirls from that point.
Head coach Marci Jobson said she was proud of the way her team responded throughout the rest of the game after the early goal was given up.
“I think (Oklahoma State’s) obviously a great team,” she said. “I’m not disappointed in them at all. That’s a team that if you get down in the first 10 minutes, you can lose five, six or seven to nothing. If we are disappointed in anything, we are disappointed in how we came out in the first five, 10 minutes. We were a little bit shell-shocked, but once they settled into their groove they did well.”
The Cowgirls outshot the Bears 9-7, but both teams had four shots on goal in the game. Jobson said the shot count speaks for itself, stating that her team is not far from beating a team like Oklahoma State. All four of the Bears’ shots on goal came from junior midfielder Lisa Sliwinski, but none found the back of the net.
Sliwinski said the shots that did not fall in were more frustrating than disappointing.
“I’m not disappointed at all in our performance,” she said. “Our team is built on the fact that we fight harder than anyone else and have more heart than anyone else. I think we showed that.”
Sunday’s win against Oklahoma (6-12, 1-6) gave the Bears their most wins since 1998 (15) and the most Big 12 victories since 2000 (6).
Dana Larsen added her 10th goal of the season, the most by a Baylor player since Molly Cameron, who netted 11 in 2000. Senior defender Hannah Dismuke recorded two assists, tallying her total to seven, the most since Megan Sherrell’s seven in 2007.
Sliwinski continued her scoring streak, adding two goals on the evening, and finished the regular season scoring six goals in the final six games. The Bears’ first goal came on Sliwinski’s penalty kick after freshman forward Justine Hovden was fouled in the box in the 21st minute.
Sliwinski said she feels comfortable on penalty kicks and enjoys taking them for her team.
“It’s a preference thing,” she said. “A lot of people are scared to death of that. I feel pretty comfortable. I’ve always been the one to step up and take PKs for my team. I like doing it.”
Jobson said she did not think her team started the game well but was pleased with the performance in the second half against the Sooners.
“I didn’t think we came out too sharp,” she said. “We were a little flat in the back. We had a much better second half. We started making a lot of two-passes throughout the different periods of the game and scored three set pieces, which was nice.”
Baylor (14-3-2, 5-3-1) has locked up the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Championship and will await their opponent after the rest of the conference concludes regular season play this weekend.
The Big 12 Championship is a three-round, single elimination tournament. The team is slated to play the No. 6-ranked team in the Big 12 Championship at 2 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio.