By Jeffrey Swindoll
It had been over 10 years since Baylor soccer had won a match in Norman, Okla. (1999), but the Bears got back to their winning ways with a 2-1 win over the Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday at John Crain Field.
The Bears traveled to Norman to play the Sooners last week, but that was postponed after halftime due to lightning. The Sooners took a 1-0 lead in that first game. That score did not carry over into the rescheduled match.
On Sunday, the Bears and Sooners started from scratch. The Bears were better this time around, and helped Baylor co-head coach Marci Jobson earn her 100th win as coach for the Bears.
First half goals from senior forward Justine Hovden and senior midfielder Anja Rosales proved to be the difference Sunday night. Hovden’s goal came in the 12th minute after junior midfielder Bri Campos crossed in a ball from the right flank that was turned in by Hovden. She received Campos’ pass off her chest and blasted a shot to the top right corner of the goal.
Campos, usually a central midfielder for the Bears, played as the center forward on Sunday. In addition, freshman Precious Akanyirige, a starter at center forward all season was moved back on the field, a position she’s more naturally akin to from her high-school career as a defender. The tweak from Baylor co-head Marci Jobson gave the Bears an extra bite in their attack against the Sooners and seemingly paid off.
“Bri’s been scoring a lot of goals and we needed a veteran up there,” Jobson said. “Precious played tremendous tonight in the back. Bri had two assists tonight, so that switch really worked.”
The opening goal from the goal came as a bit of a shock to the Sooners, who took an early lead in their first match against the Bears last week. The Sooners would respond in the first half with a goal of their own in the 29th minute. OU’s Abby Hodgen laced a shot off the crossbar that was knocked in by her teammate Devin Barrett for the equalizer.
It didn’t take long for the Bears to regain the lead though. To be exact, it took 46 seconds for the Bears to make it 2-1. Junior defender Katie Daigle sailed in free kick from around midfield into the Sooners goal box. After the ball was knocked around by players from both teams in the mayhem of the goal box, Rosales found an opening and knocked in her first goal of the season. Rosales’ goal turned out to be the game-winning goal against the Sooners.
“It’s always great when you respond [fast to an opponent scoring],” Jobson said. “We made an error on the goal but we were able to respond right away.”
The Bears (8-5-2, 2-2-1) sit in the middle of the conference standings, tied with Oklahoma and Texas Tech with 7 points apiece. Only three games remain for the Bears before the Big 12 Conference tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Two of those home games are away, against Texas Tech this Friday and West Virginia next week. The Bears are looking to close out their season strong with three difficult opponents queued for the next few weeks.
“I told our girls [Sunday] that it doesn’t matter what other people think of us or what the standings are, we need complete focus on us for 90 minutes for the rest of the regular season,” Jobson said. “We had a great team effort and played really well.”