Story by Adam Gibson | Sports Writer, Video by Julia Lawrenz | Broadcast Reporter
No. 14 Baylor soccer took to the pitch to face (10-2-1, 2-2-1) Oklahoma State where the Bears defeated the Cowgirls 1-0 in what proved to be a match where the Bears fought through physicality to overpower the Cowgirl defense.
The Cowgirls came into Waco on a two-game losing streak looking to be the first team to defeat Baylor at home this season. The Bears, on the other hand, are on a four-game winning streak, with one win coming in overtime and another in double overtime. Head coach Paul Jobson said the win today came from the players fighting for the win and their passion for the game and that led to a good match from both sides.
“It was a good, hard-fought game. You’ve got kids here who care about what they do. They want to win,” Jobson said. “They’re kids who want to compete and they’re going to do whatever they’ve got to do to win on both sides. I thought at the end of the day it was a pretty good match.”
Already 20 minutes in, both teams had the same amount of shots at five with sophomore keeper Jennifer Wandt making two saves and Cowgirl freshman keeper Hannah Warner making three to keep the match level at zero. The Bears found their way into the back of the net first when a cross from sophomore midfielder Ally Henderson kicked a corner kick into the box that was deflected out, then off of passes by junior forward Raegan Padgett and freshman midfielder Giuliana Cunningham, where the ball found junior forward Camryn Wendlandt who headed the ball into the back left of the net 24 minutes into the match. Wendlandt said her goal was due to fighting through the defenders to contact the ball.
“My goal was the right place at the right time,” Wendlandt said. “The defenders were really tight on me on my corner kicks so when I got free from it, it happened to be the right place so that was nice.”
The match began to get a little chippy for Baylor through 35 minutes, with the Bears getting called for eight fouls, compared to Oklahoma State being called for committing two. The physical aspect of the game kept either team from scoring the rest of the half, as both teams went into the locker room with eight shots each and Baylor leading in shots on target with five compared to Oklahoma State’s four.
Baylor had the first shot to begin the second half from senior forward Jackie Crowther from outside the box for her first shot of the game where Warner made the save. Six minutes later, Crowther was shown the first yellow card after chasing down and tackling an Oklahoma State player in an attempt to tackle and steal the ball. The Cowgirls were unable to convert and take advantage of the free kick missing a shot wide right of the goal.
The fouls in the game continued to plague the Bears, as they had more fouls than shots with 17 fouls and 15 shots, whereas Oklahoma State had six fouls with 12 minutes left in the match.
The defense of the Bears held strong to force the Cowgirls to work for a good shot as only four of their 12 shots were on target, all from the first half which Wandt saved. Baylor continued knocking on the door of the Cowgirl defense after back to back shots from Padgett and freshman forward Taylor Moon in the 85 minute, one of which was saved and the other curled just over the crossbar.
As the match drew to a close, despite ending with fouls, Baylor’s offense tested the Cowboys defense with 21 total shots, 11 of those on target forcing them to be saved. Wendlandt said pulling off the win over the Cowboys in the hard fought match gives the Bears momentum heading into the last few matches.
“This win definitely carries momentum because we know we have three more matches at home for the rest of the season and we’re going to get extra rest this weekend since we only have one game,” Wendlandt said. “This is going to be really good for us know that Oklahoma State is a hard opponent and we really grinded it out.”
As the team prepares for Kansas State, Jobson said it will have to prepare for a powerful up-front group who can score.
“We’ve got to compete,” Jobson said. “We’ve got to be able to connect some passes. We’ve got to get forward quickly and they’ve got a great attack, a great offense and we have to be able to shut them down.”
The Bears take this Sunday off and will face the Wildcats at 7 p.m. Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field in Waco.