By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
Baylor soccer needed a big win to increase its postseason chances, and that is exactly what the Bears got in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament Wednesday afternoon.
Trailing 1-0 with two minutes to play in the second half, junior defender Sarah King found junior forward Lauren Piercy on a cross in the box and Piercy delivered a strike from six yards out to tie the game at 1.
After losing four of its five games this season on golden goals in overtime, including 1-0 to Texas on Oct. 20, Baylor returned the favor.
Senior midfielder Aline De Lima found junior midfielder Julie James at the top of the box and connected for the game-winner from eight yards out past a dive from Texas sophomore goalkeeper Nicole Curry and the fifth-seeded Bears knocked off the fourth seeded Longhorns 2-1.
Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said the team never gave up when they fell behind and that confidence helped them pull it out.
“I think we showed that never-say-die mentality. We pushed through to get that tying goal and then the game-winner,” Jobson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our team’s effort and I’m just excited we get to keep playing.”
Baylor was the offensive aggressor out of the gate. The Bears outshot the Longhorns 8-5 in the first half and wasted little time getting going.
In the second minute, freshman center midfielder Ally Henderson had a look at the goal but missed it wide right. De Lima and sophomore forward Raegan Padgett had opportunities in the 13th and 20th minutes, but De Lima missed high and Padgett missed it wide right.
After Texas managed its first shot on goal in the 32nd minute, Baylor upped the pressure on Curry with a header shot from James in the 33rd minute, two shots from Piercy and one from junior midfielder Kennedy Brown over the last 13 minutes. However, Curry was up to the challenge, making the save on all four shots and sending the scoreless game to halftime.
In the second half, it was Texas’ turn to up the intensity on freshman goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt. The Longhorns got three shots on goal in the first 15 minutes of the half, but Wandt made the save on all three.
Wandt made another save in the 70th minute, but less than two minutes later, Wandt made her only mistake of the game.
After freshman midfielder Haley Berg put one in the box, Wandt ran out to try to corral it, but junior midfielder Katie Glenn beat Wandt to the spot and knocked it in to put Texas in front 1-0.
For the next 17 minutes, Texas controlled the pace and possession of the game, limiting Baylor to just one shot that was blocked in the box, but the Bears took advantage of the one shot they did get in the 88th minute as Piercy tied and sent the game into overtime.
The two teams were even in shots at 17 apiece with Texas holding the advantage in saves 7-5 and corners 4-3.
Baylor (11-5-2) will have another opportunity to boost its postseason resume when it takes on the top-seeded Oklahoma State Cowgirls (15-2-2) at 4:30 p.m. today in the Big 12 Tournament semifinal.