Baylor ties Texas in battle for top of the conference

Freshman defender Ava Colberg #22 was active in Baylor's intense battle against the Texas Longhorns on Oct. 15, ultimately resulting in a tie for the two teams. Audrey La | Photographer

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

Baylor soccer (7-3-5, 3-1-2) drew a tie against the University of Texas (8-3-4, 4-0-2) 0-0 in a tough contest. The game featured lots of defense and a few close-shot opportunities for both sides. Graduate student goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt said that the backline and defense played outstanding, and that she was proud to be a part of such a performance.

“We played great team defense tonight, especially the backline,” Wandt said. “I mean everyone [played well], but the backline just played rock solid. Ava [Colberg] and Sarah Hornyak on the outsides played great, and then obviously Kayley [Ables] and [Sarah] Norman have been solid for us in the middle day in and day out. It was such a team defensive effort. I was just so happy to be a part of it.”

In the 6th minute of action, senior forward Taylor Moon had a lane towards goal. In her attempt, a Longhorn defender raced into the box and forced contact, not allowing a clean shot on goal. The Bears had three shots on goal in the first half, but were unable to connect on any of them. Wandt only had to make one save in the first half, which came in the 8th minute.

The shot count favored the Bears, as they outshot the Longhorns 7-6 in the first half. Time of possession was split evenly, but Baylor had four corner opportunities to Texas’ one. However the score was still tied 0-0 going into halftime.

In the 68th minute of the second half, sophomore forward Mackenzie Anthony pushed the attack on the right wing of the pitch, and sent a cross towards sophomore forward Olivia Mack. The Mack-to-Mack connection was promising, but Olivia was unable to make contact and send one into the back of the net.

Later, in the 75th minute, freshman defender Ava Colberg found herself with a shot opportunity from distance. After a pass towards sophomore forward Chloe Brown ricocheted, Colberg gathered and fired towards the top center of the net. The Longhorns’ fifth year senior goalkeeper Savannah Madden made a leaping acrobatic save, barely getting a hand under the top of the woodwork. Colberg said after the game, that it was nice being able to get a shot on goal, as defender’s are usually not involved on offense.

“I was dribbling and I was like, ‘The ball came back out’ and I was like, ‘There’s nothing else [to do] I have to shoot it,’” Colberg said. “And then I was like, ‘Oh my God it’s about to go in’ but, obviously it didn’t. But it was so cool getting a shot and getting that close to goal.”

Head coach Paul Jobson was happy with Colberg’s performance, especially on the defensive end. He said that it is easy to forget she is a freshman, due to her making big stops out on the wings.

“[Colberg’s defense] was just solid,” Jobson said. “We forget sometimes she’s a freshman. How many ever games we are into the season, that’s how many games we are into her career. And she’s playing like a veteran. [I’m] really proud of her effort back there.”

Nearing the end of regulation, Wandt came up huge to keep the game scoreless as she finished the game with four saves. The Longhorns pushed an attack in the 85th minute, and had a shot on goal. Wandt punched the ball out of play, keeping the game level at 0-0 heading into overtime. Wandt said that her decision to punch the ball rather than catching it was purely based on lack of visibility.

“This one, actually, I just couldn’t see it in the light,” Wandt said. “So, instead of risking dropping it I just knew I needed to punch it.”

In the first period of overtime, graduate student midfielder Ally Henderson-Ashkinos set up for a corner kick, crossing it in where multiple bodies attempted to score the winning goal. The ball ultimately fell out of play, as the game stayed even on the scoreboard. Later in the period, Wandt made another big save, as she kept Texas’ shot from hitting the top middle of the net. With the clock winding down, sophomore midfielder Sarah Hornyak sent a last-effort shot on goal. It resulted in a routine save for Madden and the clock expired, sending the game into the second period of golden goal overtime.

Texas dominated the time of possession in the second period of overtime. Baylor couldn’t possess the ball for more than a few seconds, as they were forced to make stops the rest of the way. Their defense stood tall and the clock would expire with the score 0-0.

Jobson said that the team executed well, and that he was proud of the defensive effort against a talented Texas team. Jobson said UT potentially has the best forward trio in the country but the Bears shut them down, holding them to zero goals.

“I thought we executed our game plan really, really well,” Jobson said. “We were solid defensively. This is probably the most prolific threesome in the country, that we actually shut down tonight. I thought we did a great job with that. We sacrificed a little bit of our attack to be able to do that, but I still thought we were real explosive in the attack [and] had some great opportunities. It didn’t kill our attack, but I thought we had some great opportunities moving forward. Solid defensively, had some great attacking opportunities, just didn’t fall our way tonight as far as getting it in the back of the next. But, we’ll take the result, I guess.”

Up next, the Bears remain at home for a game against Iowa State University ( 4-8-0, 1-3-0). The game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Betty Lou Mays Field. In their history. Baylor is 11-5-1 against the Cyclones, dating back to 2005.