By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
Baylor soccer finished its nonconference schedule with a 2-1 overtime win against Gonzaga Sunday afternoon at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field. The Bears played a total of 206:12 over the weekend after tying No. 2 USC on Friday night.
Head coach Paul Jobson was happy with the way his team relentlessly pushed through the game.
“A lot of resiliency from our team today. We could’ve bowed out at any moment. We could’ve used any excuses. We rode some momentum from Friday night’s match,” Jobson said. “Gonzaga’s a great team, they pushed us to the brink today. They had a great game plan, but I think we showed some resiliency and finally walked off from an overtime match with a victory.”
Baylor dominated the field, consistently applying pressure on the Bulldogs’ defense and their junior goalkeeper Isabel Jones, who finished the game with nine saves. The Bears had a 19-10 edge in shots, 11 of them on goal, and a 10-3 edge in corner kicks, the last of which resulted in the game winning score.
Seven minutes into overtime senior forward Reagan Padgett booted the ball into bottom right corner of the net on the assist by junior midfielder Ally Henderson who took the corner. According to the senior, the goal was a team effort as the Bears were trying to take advantage of the corner to close out the game.
“We just had a ton of corners that game and we were saying ‘We got to put this one in. This is the one,” Padgett said. “A lot of our girls went up for the ball, just scrappy. It fell down right in front of me and I turned and just toe-poked it as hard as I could.”
The first goal of the game came in the 71st minute on a run by senior defender Danielle Hayden. Hayden brought the ball up from behind the midfield line, skirting around Gonzaga’s defense and into the top of the box to put Baylor on the board. Formerly a forward at her last school, Hayden said she missed being on the attack but that she was just helping her team get the win anyway she could.
“It’s different than stopping goals all the time. Scoring one and just helping out the team any way that I can, it meant a lot,” Hayden said. “I thought we were going to come out of regulation with the win. Our legs were pretty tired, but we knew we just had to push through. We kind felt it coming, like we knew we were going to end the game early, and we just executed.”
Baylor was very close in taking the victory during regulation until Bulldogs junior forward Maggie Conners drove in the equalizer in the 87th minute by looping a header in the left post over junior goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt and sending the match into the Bears’ third straight overtime. But Baylor managed to break the streak to finish of non-conference play with a 4-2-3 record.
The Bears will begin Big 12 play in the Sunflower State with a Thursday night match against the Kansas State Wildcats and a Sunday afternoon contest at Kansas University against the Jayhawks.