Soccer sparks a comeback to tie No. 2 USC

Junior midfielder Eva Mitchell intercepts a pass during the first half against No. 2 USC Friday night. Nathan de la Cerda | Multimedia Journalist

By Ahfaaz Merchant | Sports Writer

Baylor soccer faced No. 2 USC Friday night and came up with a 2-2 draw after an intense double overtime.

The Trojans took the lead late in the first half with a goal by Jaelyn Eisenhart, assisted by Ashley Soto, in the 38th minute. The Trojans once again found the goal through Penelope Hocking 41st, making it 2-0 going in to the second half.

Despite falling behind in the first 45, head coach Paul Jobson still felt his team had a lot to bring coming into the latter portion of the game.

“The message at half time was I did not believe it was a 2-0 game,” Jobson said. “I really felt we had opportunities in the first half, made some mistakes, and a great team is going to capitalize on our mistakes. But we weren’t out of the game and I felt like we could adjust some things and put some pressure on them and go for it.”

The Bears did just that in the second half when sophomore forward Elena Reyna found the net in the 55th minute giving the Baylor the push it needed.

Sophomore midfielder Guliana Cunningham, who tied the game forthe Bears in the 60th, was excited for her teammate and what she did for the team.

“I got the shivers,” Cunningham said. “As soon as she scored, I knew that we could honestly do it. I really got goosebumps. I think everyone on the team got goosebumps. We just, at that point, we just knew. We knew we could take it.”

Baylor almost took the victory in the final seconds of regulation as Reyna and Cunningham both went for the attack in the box. But the first shot came off the crossbar and the second missed the goal post out high, sending the game into overtime.

Junior goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt made her presence known to the Trojans, recording eight saves, a career record. According to her coach, Wandt really allowed her team to stay in the match with some game saving plays.

“Jenn played out of her mind,” Jobson said.

With the Bears ending the match against the second-ranked team in the nation with a draw, Jobson and several players, including Reyna, felt that they were a team to be feared.

“This game kind of just helped us realize that we are better than we think we are and playing against them,” Reyna said. “We realized we can play with the top dogs and we just needed to come out of our shell a little bit.”

Baylor will remain at home to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs at 1 p.m. Sunday at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field. Sunday’s matchup is scheduled to be Pups at the Pitch.