Baylor women’s soccer season came to an end this weekend with a 2-0 loss to Kansas in the Big 12 Championship Tournament.
The Bears were the No. 2 seed in the tournament, while the Jayhawks were the No. 6 seed. Following the championship match, senior midfielder Bri Campos was named to the all-tournament best eleven for outstanding play throughout the Big 12 Tournament.
“All in all, I can’t be disappointed in this season and the girls,” said head coach Paul Jobson. “I’m proud of this team – we were picked eighth in conference and finished second, and made it to the semifinal, which no one gave us a shot to be anywhere near this right now.”
Baylor’s season was a bit of a comeback story. After starting 2015 with an 0-4-1 record, the Bears reeled off seven straight wins, including the Baylor Tournament title mid-September.
While the Bears came into Big 12 play hot, they cooled off towards the tail-end of the season, finishing the season with a 2-1-2 record in their last five games.
The Bears fell victim to many overtime finishes over the season, playing seven matches in overtime in 2015 and registering a 1-3-3 record in those games.
In the first round of the tournament, the Bears matched up against the TCU Horned Frogs, forcing a 1-1 draw that led to a shootout victory for Baylor The Bears had previously squared off against the Horned Frogs on Sept. 30. That game also ended 1-1.
In the first round of the Big 12 tournament, the Horned Frogs struck first against Baylor after a scoreless first half.
In the 68th minute, TCU’s Emma Heckerdorn served a cross into the box where Meghan Murphy was there for the header. The Bears would hang on and equal the score in the 81st minute.
After a TCU yellow card gave Bri Campos a free kick opportunity, Campos sent a laser shot just to the right of the TCU wall, equalizing the score.
Each team would trade goals back and forth in the following shootout. In the eighth round of the shootout, TCU missed wide right to give the Bears the victory, as the Bears won the shootout 7-6.
“[The TCU game] exemplifies our season as a whole – veterans and freshmen making PKs and Sara Martinson making a big save. It doesn’t get down to anymore of a team effort than tonight,” Jobson said. However, that season would come to an end in the following game against the Kansas Jayhawks.
The 2-0 second round loss to the Lady Jayhawks was the second time the Bears had faced Kansas. In a Sept. 9 matchup in Lawrence, Kan., the Bears fell to Kansas 1-0 in a double overtime thriller.
In the last seven seconds, Parker Roberts headed Kansas’ Liana Salazar’s free kick in for the game winner. The Kansas loss was the only regular season conference game Baylor lost. The only other non-win results in conference play for the Bears were two hard-fought draws.
As for the Bears matchup against Kansas last weekend, Salazar once again played a vital role in Baylor’s downfall.
In the 35th minute, Salazar booted a strike from the top of the box that found the back of the net.
Although the Bears had quality opportunities to knot up the game, both Sarah King and Lauren Piercy’s shot on goal attempts were saved. Kansas would effectively end the game in the 79th minute, again on a Salazar goal. Salazar stole the ball 25 yards out and netted the dagger.
“I’m proud of the determination and what we were able to do. The experience we gained this year will be so valuable for next season.”
Experience for the Bears will certainly be a valuable asset for a young Baylor squad next season.
Seven true freshmen played in at least 10 games this season. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Rebecca Gartner started four games in the net.
Freshman Sarah King ranked 12th in the nation in assists, racking up 10 in 2015. King’s 10 assists lead the Big 12 while also topped the nation in terms of assists by a freshman.
Fellow freshmen Lauren Piercy also led the Bears in goals with six while Julie James was second with four scores. With such a young talented core, the Bears have a legitimate chance at competing for Big 12 titles for years to come.