By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
Baylor soccer finished its season with a thrilling 1-0 overtime victory over Oklahoma Friday night at Betty Lou Mays Field.
Freshman forward Olivia Mack scored the game’s only goal and the first goal of her Baylor career six minutes into the first overtime period to win the game for the Bears.
Oklahoma entered the game 0-5-1 on the season and in last place in the Big 12. Despite this, the Sooners gave Baylor a challenge in what proved to be a back and forth affair.
Baylor started the game on the front foot when freshman forward Mackenzie Anthony smashed the ball off of the crossbar in the 16th minute.
Anthony continued to make things happen for the Bears during the first half. A perfectly weighted pass from Anthony put her teammate junior forward Taylor Moon through on goal, but her effort was saved by Oklahoma’s senior goalkeeper Nikki Panas.
It was a battle of the keepers throughout the game, as both Panas and Baylor senior goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt came up with heroic saves.
Both teams entered the half scoreless, with Baylor leading the shot total 4-2. Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said he was frustrated by his team’s first-half performance, saying they didn’t execute their game plan well.
“I wasn’t real happy with our first half, because we didn’t play our game plan the way we set things up during the week,” Jobson said. “But, we made some adjustments at halftime and came out in the second half much better, to the point where it gave us an opportunity to win the game.”
Oklahoma began the second half with a better offensive performance than the first. Junior midfielder Yuuka Kurosaki curled an effort at goal 28 minutes into the second half, but Wandt was equal to the shot, parrying it over the goal.
With only 13 minutes remaining, freshman forward Chloe Brown almost scored what would have been the winner, as her header off of a corner kick went just wide of the goal.
The two teams remained tied at the end of regulation and headed to overtime, marking the fifth time the Bears have gone to overtime this season.
Like she has so many times during this season, Wandt had to make a big save for Baylor to keep them in the game. Wandt made a ridiculous kick-save three minutes into overtime to deny Oklahoma the golden goal.
“My goal was just to make my body big and it ended up going off of me, so it worked out,” Wandt said, “just kind of knowing that it was overtime, so it’s scored or get scored on and the game is over — I didn’t want that.”
Jobson said he has been impressed by Wandt’s ability to make crucial saves all season.
“We’ve said for a long time that we hope our goalkeepers don’t have to do a lot, but when Jen has to do something, it’s usually a pretty big save,” Jobson said. “And she proved that again tonight and just saved us big-time. That was a game-saving save.”
Soon after, Mack found the back of the net to win the game for Baylor. Oklahoma failed to clear Baylor’s cross and Mack was able to find the ball and knock it into the back of the net.
“We had been putting some good pressure on. We’d been getting some good opportunities,” Jobson said. “That kid [Mack] is just a scrapper and a fighter and found a way to make that happen for herself and for her team.”
Baylor will finish the fall portion of their season a solid 3-3-3. Mack said the Bears are excited to go into the winter break, work on their game and prepare for the spring portion of the season.
“I’m actually really looking forward to the break,” Mack said. “This break for us is going to be a great time to kind of continuing to establish those off the field relationships and then translating those into practices. And then obviously coming up in those next four months when we hit game time, we’re going to be stellar.”