By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer
Despite creating multiple opportunities and possessions, Baylor soccer was unable to match No. 25 Texas Tech, falling 2-0 Sunday afternoon at Betty Lou Mays Field.
Head coach Michelle Lenard and the Bears (5-5-1, 0-3-0 Big 12) took on their third ranked opponent in two weeks with the Red Raiders (9-0-2, 3-0-0 Big 12). Baylor came into the matchup looking to score its first goal in conference play and left scoreless after being shut out for the third time.
“There are still a lot of conference games to play, and we have played the best three teams in the conference straight away,” Lenard said. “While that’s not meant to be an excuse, it’s just obvious right now [that] that’s not us. We can accept that because if we want to be one of those best teams, we have to be honest with ourselves right now. Maybe at the end of the season, we get another shot at one of these three teams we’ve played over the last two weeks in a conference tournament as a better, more improved team.”
Baylor mustered its first shot on goal in the 22nd minute, but it was Texas Tech that would find success quickly after. The Red Raiders struck first on the scoreboard in the 23rd minute as junior forward Ashleigh Williams tucked the ball into the corner off of her left boot.
The Bears struggled to find a consistent attack in the first 45 minutes, only launching three shot attempts. However, the green and gold came out with energy in the second half, and the offense was sparked by sophomore forward Tyler Isgrig, senior midfielder Ashely Merrill and sophomore defender Hannah Augustyn.
Baylor found the attack opportunities off solid services into the box, but the Bears were unable to cash in for points.
Texas Tech added to the advantage in the 52nd minute when Williams punched a header into the back of the net off a pass from outside the 18-yard box.
Senior goalkeeper Makinzie Short got the start in the first half, tallying three saves and only allowing one goal. In the second half, sophomore goalkeeper Ashlee Zirkel took over and only allowed a single goal off the boot of Williams, while notching a save in her only other chance.
“There are moments in the games when we can see that we can compete against these teams; we haven’t been able to do [that] for 90 minutes,” Lenard said. “We’re playing the way you would expect a freshmen and sophomore [led] team to play — with very little experience — and that shows. This team is kind of growing up together.”
With the six-game home stand over, conference play will continue against Kansas (3-2-5, 0-1-1 Big 12). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kan.