By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer
No. 10 (16-4, 8-1) Baylor soccer took out (4-14-2, 2-6-1) Iowa State 3-0 to get off to a strong start in the Big 12 championship on Sunday in Kansas City, Mo.
Baylor was able to break open its scoring 35 minutes into the match. Senior forward Jackie Crowther took the ball down the sideline before crossing the ball into the box where freshman forward Elena Reyna took a mid-air shot, knocking the ball into the back right of the net just inside the right post. Reyna’s goal was her second on the season and the seventh assist for Crowther. Reyna said scoring the first goal of the match took the pressure off of the Bears and helped secure the win in the end.
“It was a relief, because it was a really hard match,” Reyna said. “But once you secure a goal, it gets easier from there. When you feel like it’s easier, your legs don’t hurt as bad and it’s just a huge relief off your shoulders.”
By the end of half, Reyna’s goal was the lone goal on the board as the Bears could not get the other three shots on goal past Iowa State sophomore keeper Dayja Schwichtenberg. The Cyclones, on the other hand, had four shots with just one on target which sophomore keeper Jennifer Wandt was able to save.
As the teams came out to kick off the second half of the match, Baylor wasted no time in testing Schwichtenberg early on when after only five minutes, Crowther took a corner for the Bears that found senior midfielder Julie James. James received the ball, turned and took the shot that went past the right of Schwichentenberg for the second goal of the game, extending the lead 2-0 in the 50th minute. The goal for James was her seventh of the season and her first since Sept. 21 against Texas in Austin.
The scoring on the day was not over for Baylor as freshman forward Taylor Moon drew a foul inside the penalty box, earning the first penalty kick of the season for the Bears. Moon took the penalty kick aiming for the top shelf on the right side of the goal which Schwichtenberg got a hand on, but failed to keep the ball from landing in the goal. The goal put the match completely out of reach for the Cyclones as they failed to score at all, handing Baylor the 3-0 win.
Crowther, after notching two assists on the day, said the win to start the Big 12 Championship is an important time for everyone to close out the season on a high note.
“It’s really exciting,” Crowther said. “Big 12 tournament is a blank slate for everyone, regardless of what happened during the conference. It’s exciting to get another chance to prove ourselves each game and to prove that we’re the same team, no matter the circumstance. For myself, personally, it’s really exciting just to get another game to play with my girls. Being a senior and not having played last season, I just really appreciate every game I get with them.”
This was Baylor’s 14th win in the Big 12 Soccer Championship, giving it an all-time record of 14-11-1 for the most wins among active members of the conference. Baylor will face Texas Tech in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. on Friday back at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo.