Soccer finds offensive groove, shuts out Texas Tech 3-0

Junior Middle Forward Julie James passes to her teammates against Texas Tech on Friday night. William Barksdale | Multimedia Journalist Center Midfielder

By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor

After 200 minutes of scoreless play last weekend in matches against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Baylor soccer seemed determined to rediscover its offense.

Baylor also had to play without leading scorer junior forward Jackie Crowther, who may be out for the year after sustaining a knee injury against the Sooners on Sept. 29.

Despite the obstacles, Baylor outshot Texas Tech 11-7 and got first-half goals from sophomore forward Camryn Wendlandt and senior defender Precious Akanyirige as the Bears cruised to a 3-0 win over Texas Tech on Friday night at Betty Lou Mays Field.

Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said that as impressive as the offense was, he was more impressed with the defensive effort.

“Just an overall great performance from everybody. I couldn’t be more proud of just everybody all over the field, what they were able to put into tonight. And then able to finish some chances,” Jobson said. “Again, we weren’t stressed about not scoring, but at some point you hope that that lid comes off the back of the goal and you’re able to put some in the back of the net. And against a great team; Texas Tech’s no joke. They’ve been scoring a lot of goals this year, too, and we were able to shut them out. That’s a big defensive effort as well.”

Both teams looked for offensive opportunities early on, but the first chance didn’t come until the 17th minute. Following the Red Raiders fourth foul of the first half, junior defender Sarah King lofted a pass to Wendlandt, who headed the ball into the top right corner of the net, giving Baylor a 1-0 lead.

Wendlandt said after struggling offensively last weekend, it was nice to find some early success.

“It just felt really nice to finally put some goals away. We’ve worked so hard and it was really cool to see all our team effort pay off tonight in the net,” Wendlandt said. “[King] has amazing talent and I feel so lucky to play with a player like her. She just put the ball in the right place. It was nothing that I did.”

Texas Tech looked to respond in the 22nd minute. After a corner kick for the Red Raiders was blocked, junior defender Brooke Denesik had a good look against Baylor freshman goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt, but her shot hit the post.

After dodging a good look from Texas Tech, Baylor began to push the offensive tempo again. Senior midfielder Aline De Lima had an opportunity to extend the Bear’s lead in the 23rd minute, but her shot missed high.

In the 28th minute, Texas Tech sophomore midfielder Jordie Harr got the second shot for the Red Raiders, but Wandt made the save.

Baylor added to its lead in the 31st minute when senior midfielder Caitlin Schwartz’s corner kick was knocked in by Akanyirige, putting the Bears up 2-0.

The Bears kept the pressure on in the second half. After a pair of yellow cards on the Red Raiders set up a free kick for De Lima, De Lima’s shot hit the post, but junior midfielder Julie James corralled the rebound and fired one to the back of the net, putting Baylor up 3-0.

Texas Tech had opportunities to try to cut into the lead, but Wandt had the Red Raider’s number.

In the 61st minute, sophomore forward Jade King had a look and sailed it high over the net. In the 68th minute, freshman forward Ally Griffin had a look, but Wandt denied it.

Griffin had the last chance as well, coming in the 87th minute, but once again Wandt prevailed.

Wandt pitched her 6th shutout of the season as she saved all four shots she saw on goal, something her teammates are beginning to expect from her.

“One hundred percent confidence in her,” Wendlandt said. “Jen’s stepping up right now as a freshman and she’s doing great things. She’s so rock solid in everything she does.”

With this win, Baylor improves to 8-3-2 overall and 2-2-1 in the Big 12. The Bears also improved their record to 6-1 at Betty Lou Mays Field this season with one more home game left, an Oct. 20 matchup with Texas.

James said that the Bears played more relaxed offensively, something that the coaching staff challenged them to do moving forward.

“It was all in our spirit. This week we’ve been trying to work a lot on relaxing a little in front of the net,” James said. “Our coaches have talked to us about that a little more and that was one of the challenges tonight, to have fun and relax in front of the net. I felt like we did that and we have to keep it up this next week too.”

Baylor will hit the road next weekend for a 7 p.m. Friday match with Kansas State and a 1 p.m. Sunday match with Kansas.