Soccer named Big 12 champs

By Greg DeVries

Sports Writer

As of today, it has been 72 days since the No. 14 Baylor women’s soccer team has lost a game. The most recent victory was the 4-1 win over the TCU Horned Frogs in which they clenched the Big 12 Championship.

The Bears’ 5-0-3 conference record (and 17-1-4 overall) earned them a No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament, and the team first squared off against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls.

Despite tying the Cowgirls 0-0 earlier in the year, the Bears came out firing. Senior forward Dana Larsen assisted on goals to senior forward Lisa Sliwinski and junior midfielder Vic Hoffman.

Soon after, in the 16th minute, she recorded a goal of her own. Baylor cruised to a 3-0 victory and advanced to play Texas Tech.

“Dana Larsen had an unbelievable game,” head coach Marci Jobson said. “Sometimes she puts a lot of pressure on herself, but tonight she was able to let that go and play.”

The trend of early goals continued against the Red Raiders. Senior midfielder Hanna Gilmore scored in traffic in less than four minutes into the match. Texas Tech answered, and the teams went into halftime tied 1-1.

Sliwinski stepped up in the second half to give the Bears a 2-1 edge, and Baylor hung on to earn a trip to the Big 12 championship game.

On the other side of the bracket, the No. 8 seed TCU was surprising a lot of teams. In its first game against West Virginia, the Horned Frogs scored a goal early and added another one late in the game to pull off the big upset.

In the second round, TCU pulled off another upset. This time it was over the Texas Longhorns. The game was scoreless after two overtimes, but the Horned Frogs earned the victory in penalty kicks.

In the Big 12 Championship game, junior defender Selby Polley scored to put the Bears ahead 1-0 just 20 minutes into the game. Polley launched a powerful shot across her body just out of reach of the TCU goalkeeper for her first goal of the season. Larsen was credited with the assist.

“I told Selby, before the game, ‘You are going to be a senior next year. You have to step up and be a leader. I need a little bit extra from you today,’” Jobson said. “She provided that little bit extra and more with a great goal.”

Larsen found Gilmore at the beginning of the second half to put the Bears up 2-0, but TCU would respond with a goal to make the game interesting. With a 2-1 lead, Gilmore scored her second goal of the day to give Baylor the 3-1 edge.

Less than 20 seconds later, junior midfielder Larissa Campos dribbled the ball toward the TCU goal and launched a shot from distance.

The ball fit perfectly between the post and the crossbar to give Baylor the 4-1 lead and the win.

“I am just so proud of these girls,” Jobson said. “They have sacrificed so much to get to this point. We don’t have this team of amazing superstars. We just have a bunch of girls that work hard, believe and love each other. That is what makes this moment special.”

Larsen, Gilmore, Sliwinski, and Junior defender Kat Ludlow were all selected to the Big 12 All-Tournament team.

Larsen also earned honors for her outstanding offensive performance throughout the tournament.

In the first round of the NCAA tournament, Baylor will travel to Arizona State to take on the Sun Devils. Arizona State is 10-8-2 overall but are riding a four-game winning streak.