By Daniel Wallace
It all came down to one kick. Unfortunately for the Bears, the ball soared directly over the out-stretched arms of senior goalkeeper Courtney Seelhorst and the Bears’ run at a Big 12 Championship was over.
The Bears (14-4-2) fell to the Missouri Tigers (13-7) 3-2 overall and ultimately 4-3 on penalty kicks as the Big 12 tournament came to a screeching halt for Baylor Wednesday at Blossom Field in San Antonio.
Even 110 minutes was not enough time for a winner to emerge in Baylor’s first-round match-up against the Missouri Tigers in the Big 12 Championship. After 90 minutes of play, the game was tied at two goals apiece and neither team was able to score in either of the two 10-minute overtime periods. A chance to move on to the semifinals of the tournament came down to penalty kicks.
Although disappointed in the outcome of the game, head coach Marci Jobson said she was thrilled with her team’s effort and had little reason to hang her head down after the game.
“They played great,” she said. “It was a great game. I was proud of them.”
The Bears missed an opportunity to take an early lead on the penalty kicks as junior defender Hanna Gilmore’s ball sailed to the right of the post.
Junior midfielder Michelle Hagen and freshman forward Justine Hovden converted on the next two penalty kicks for the Bears, but all three of the Missouri players found the back of the net and the Tigers led 3-2 in penalty kicks going into the fourth round of kicks.
After junior midfielder Lisa Sliwinski’s ball found its way into the net, Seelhorst gave the Bears’ one last chance, knocking down Missouri’s kick to force a fifth penalty kick for both teams.
Senior midfielder Bethany Johnston was unable to connect, however, and it was red-shirt freshman goalkeeper McKenzie Sauerwein’s goal for the Tigers that flew over Seelhorst to win the game.
In the 19th minute, Missouri got on the board rather uncharacteristically to open up the scoring. The ball took an odd bounce off senior defender Hannah Dismuke’s leg into Baylor’s own goal and the team fell behind 1-0.
Just 27 seconds before the first half ended, junior midfielder Lisa Sliwinski got the Bears on the board and tied the game up at 1-1. Sliwinski scored for the eighth time this season after an assist from sophomore defender Taylor Heatherly.
“It was a great goal, but it was a great team effort,” Jobson said. “It was a lot of girls coming in and making things happen.”
Gilmore’s goal in the 57th minute gave the Bears the 2-1 advantage, but nine minutes later the Tigers struck back to tie the game.
Although the Bears will not advance to the second round of the Big 12 tournament, their season has the potential to continue.
The Bears’ now await an announcement from the NCAA on whether they will be given the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament. The possibility of the Bears playing another game this season is what gives them hope after this loss.
Sliwinski said she had a teetering feeling after the game and had mixed emotions. She described it as a bizarre feeling, being disappointed in the outcome of the game but excited and hopeful that the season will continue. Seelhorst echoed the same sentiment.
“(It’s) definitely disappointing,” she said. “We had a lot of bad luck—an own goal and a PK. We went down fighting. PK’s are a terrible way to lose, but hopefully this won’t be our last game.”
Out of 20 shots taken by the Bears, six were on goal. The Tigers only attempted 13 shots but eight were on goal.