Story by Adam Gibson | Sports Writer, video by Noah Torr | Broadcast Reporter
No. 15-ranked Baylor women’s soccer (2-0) took on the Samford Bulldogs (0-2) Sunday night at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field in Waco where they defeated the Bulldogs 6-1.
After a one-and-a-half-hour long rain delay, the Lady Bears came out firing with junior forward Raegan Padgett scoring just 34 seconds in. Samford keeper Sarah Thorne came out to attempt a block, but Padgett ran right past her and rolled the ball in for the Bears’ first goal of the night.
Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said he has been through weather delays before and knew it was important that the Lady Bears not let that distract them from going on the pitch and performing to the best of their ability.
“The concern in games like this when you have a delay is if your team’s going to be able to maintain their focus,” Jobson said. “They kept their focus and their mentality. I challenged them to make a statement early. I didn’t know it would be ’35 seconds’ early, but I think they did what they needed to do.”
The rain could not slow down the Bears’ offense. Not even two minutes later freshman forward Taylor Moon netted the second goal for the Bears with a pass from Padgett, which she headed right over the top of Thorne. On the goal, Thorne was replaced by Stephanie Westaway due to an injury suffered by the goalkeeper.
Senior midfielder Julie James said it is important to score that early on because it helps set how the rest of the game will be.
“It’s always a great way to start the game of course, especially by setting the tone pretty fast. It definitely changes the momentum of the game,” James said.
In the seventh minute, Bulldog forward Caroline Orman took advantage of a ball that slipped through the Bears’ defense to bring the Bulldogs within one goal, 2-1.
The scoring showed no signs of stopping when the Bulldogs conceded a penalty just outside of the box. James took advantage of the opportunity and bent her shot around the Bulldogs’ wall, and into the upper left side of the goal.
The Bears closed out the half with a 3-1 lead. Both sides of the ball were controlled by Baylor with 15 shots compared to only two by Samford.
After such a quick start to the beginning of the match, the second half resulted with the Bears getting five more shots 20 minutes in, and eventually scoring the fourth goal of the night was junior forward Camryn Wendlandt off of an assist by freshman midfielder Maddie Algya, for her first goal of the season.
Samford’s defense committed its 12th foul of the game in the box, giving Algya a penalty kick where she found the back left of the net, giving the Bears a 5-1 lead with just under 12 minutes left.
Just when it seemed like Baylor had finished scoring, freshman defender Giuliana Cunningham closed out the scoring with the first goal of her collegiate career, leaving the Lady Bears at 6-1. Cunningham said it was fun for the team to score as many goals as they did this early in the season.
“It gives us a certain momentum I think,” Cunningham said. “Just the six goals and then having fun together as a team is really good for the future.”
The Lady Bears now head into their first road trip of the season and Jobson said the 2-0 record and 6-1 victory gives the team that much more encouragement.
“I love getting on the road,” Jobson said. “Being home the first weekend is always great. We start classes on Monday as well, but getting out of here I think there’s a lot of bonding that goes on on the road. Team chemistry builds a lot faster in those moments, and even faster when you’re 2-0 going into this trip.”
The Lady Bears will head to Florida for the first game of the road trip at 6 p.m. Friday against the University of South Florida Bulls.