By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
After a power outage at Westcot Field delayed the match 45 minutes, Baylor soccer found its offensive rhythm and knocked off SMU 4-1 in their final non-conference tuneup Sunday night in Dallas.
Baylor outshot SMU 14-10 and four different Bears found the back of the net. Freshman goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt continued her strong play, saving five of the six shots on goal from the Mustangs.
The Bears were more efficient offensively, connecting on four of their seven shots on goal against the Mustangs. Baylor was held to three goals over its last four matches, including a 1-0 loss to Washington on Sept. 10.
Even though Baylor found its offensive touch, it was SMU that got off to a fast start.
In the fourth minute, redshirt junior forward Vanessa Valdez sent a shot racing toward the goal that Wandt saved to keep the Mustangs off the board.
In the ninth minute, Valdez got another opportunity to put SMU on top and this time she did not miss, connecting on her fifth goal of the season as her shot passed the outstretched arms of Wandt, putting the Mustangs in front 1-0.
But Baylor did not let SMU’s lead last long. Less than two minutes later, junior forward Jackie Crowther delivered a corner kick to the middle of the box where sophomore forward Camryn Wendlandt was waiting to head it in for the game-tying goal.
Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said it was the response after allowing the early goal that set the tone for the rest of the game.
“Back in the Washington game, when Washington scored first, I don’t think we responded well,” Jobson said. “We talked about it this week and we talked about if before the game tonight. When SMU scored, we came back and scored in the next minute and a half. So we learned something. That’s something we’ve noticed about this team all season––they’re learning the little things and they’re putting that into practice. I’m very proud of that.”
The teams went back and forth, with each getting another shot opportunity over the next 15 minutes. Sophomore forward Raegan Padgett put Baylor up 2-1 with her first goal of the season in the 27th minute.
After Padgett’s goal, both teams upped the level of physicality, ending the final 20 minutes of play in the first half with six combined fouls, three on both teams as Baylor held a 2-1 advantage at the break.
In the second half, senior midfielder Aline De Lima had an opportunity in the 49th minute to add to the Bears’ lead, but was denied by SMU junior goalkeeper Catie Brown.
After SMU was able to clear the ball following the save, the Mustangs began to up the offensive pressure. Senior midfielder Claire Oates and freshman forward Hannah Allred each had opportunities, but Wandt saved them both.
In the 59th minute, Allread had another chance, this time hitting the crossbar. Valdez and Oates each had opportunities in the 67th minute, but both missed wide.
Baylor added some security in the 80th minute when junior forward Lauren Piercy beat Brown one-on-one and fired her first goal of the season past the Mustangs’ keeper, giving Baylor a 3-1 lead.
Less than a minute later De Lima got behind the Mustangs’ defense and hammered a shot in from 16-yards out past Brown, extending Baylor’s lead to 4-1. The goal was her second of the season.
Baylor (6-1-1) will open Big 12 conference play when it hosts No. 6 West Virginia (5-2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field. The Bears will then play Iowa State at 1 p.m. Sunday.