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Baylor Soccer

Badgers Break Deadlock, Beat Baylor Soccer 2-0

August 21, 2022
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WACO, Texas — Baylor Soccer suffered the first loss of its season Sunday evening in a 2-0 contest with the Wisconsin Badgers.

Two goals in quick succession in the 62nd minute of the game doomed the Bears to an 0-1-1 start to the 2022 season.

The first goal came from some nice hold-up play by Wisconsin, springing Izzy Verdugo down the Bears’ left flank. Verdugo’s cross was quick and found teammate Adee Boer in the box who directed it home. Madison Martin had very little chance of stopping it for Baylor.

Martin got the start in goal for the Bears, an identify-finding decision from coach Michelle Lenard. Lauren Traywick, the starter for Thursday’s game, is not quite as good with her feet for distribution as Martin, so both keepers bring different strengths to the table.

“I don't prefer to change goalkeepers at half as much,” Lenard said after the game, “So now we're looking for opportunities to give 'em each a game and see.”

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Its an open competition all across Baylor’s lineup right now, and while Martin played well with the ball at her feet today, she was also whistled for the foul that gave the Badgers their second goal.

Just 35 seconds after she was beaten the first time, Martin collided with a Wisconsin forward in the box. Emma Jaskaniec stepped up and slotted the penalty home for a 2-0 lead.

I was toward the other end of the field, so I can not get the details clearer until I rewatch the game.

Overall, the game felt like it was played in quarters today with drink breaks helping the perception. Wisconsin started off superior, pushing deep into the Baylor half and causing some scrambles in the defense.

Ava Colberg and Kayley Ables helped keep things away from Martin, but the keeper was called on a couple of times in the first 22 minutes.

That pair of defenders would see the field a lot less than usual today, with Kayley Ables coming off sick after just 34 minutes of game time. Colberg only made it to 57 minutes today, but that was more due to testing out other defenders.

Today, 20 outfield players would see the field for the Bears. That’s an entirely new lineup, except for the fact that Hallie Augustyn played the entire game in defense.

Other notes on the open competition across all positions: Haven Terry started at right winger, Olivia Mack at center forward, and Elizabeth Kooiman on the bench.

“We've still got two freshmen center forwards who are out with injuries who I think will get back in the next couple weeks,” said Lenard after the game, “That's four potential starters with Moon and Anthony) on the sideline for us that play in that central forward position. So we're really trying to find a temporary solution to fill the shoes of those players until we can get them back.”

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Back to the action, the Bears turned up the pressure right around the first half hydration break.

Just before the break, Ashley Merrill found herself with the ball in close range and sadly just could not miss the keeper with either the initial shot or the rebound. A tough break for the green and gold in the 21st minute.

After that, the substitutes came en mass. Liz Kooiman and Olivia Mack had some good moments, but overall the team has not found the balance they are looking for in attack yet.

“The girls are trying to commit to this new idea building out from the back, but there is a time and a place to be more direct,” said coach Lenard “We're creating early chances and then we don't have the numbers in the box that we need to try to capitalize.”

Despite the attempts, the Bears could not break the deadlock before the half. After the break, the Badgers came back out on the front foot. And that was when Wisconsin struck.

It was a combination of lackluster defending and good offense that did Baylor in for the first goal. And the team did not respond quite right.

Coach Lenard said “We're making some poor decisions in some critical moments and turning the ball over in the middle of the field… and then they get a goal. I think in that moment, we responded with a little bit of immaturity.”

Coach went on to emphasize that the five minutes after a goal are incredibly important and conceding a penalty within a minute afterward is just the kind of thing she was getting at.

For the second game in a row, the Bears did redouble their efforts and became dangerous in the final third. But nothing was going past Wisconsin keeper Erin McKinney today. The fifth-year player and first-year starter made ten saves today including that double save on Merrill in the first half and I believe a triple save in the final ten minutes of the game. She finished with 10 saves.

That last great chance came with about two minutes left in the game. Merrill got on the end of a cross, but it was too tall for her and her header popped up in the air. It fell to Maddie Algya whose shot was saved. It subsequently fell to another Baylor player, Olivia Mack I believe and her attempt was the final save.

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There were plenty of times when the Bears looked bright today. Skye Leach and Gabby Mueller helped supplement Merrill in the attack, while the Augustyn twins are looking very solid in defense.

One note coach Lenard has for her players though, as they keep looking for the team’s identity: “We need you to meet the physicality of the game and we need you to be a thinking, problem-solving soccer player. You can't be one and not the other. We've got a lot of players that fit one description and not the other description.”

So there is a lot left for the players and coaches to figure out. They are only two games into an 18-game season after all. And it is the first season at the Division I level for the staff and many of the players.

“We're willing to take the L early in the season to help us learn moving forward” coach Lenard said, but she will want answers sooner than later. The schedule is testing this team, and theoretically, that should draw out the answers.

WotM: Ashley Merrill — She played 83 minutes, the second most of any outfield player, registered three shots on goal, and had what was one of Baylor’s two best scoring chances.

Up Next: vs Florida (in Austin, TX) 4 PM CST

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Badgers Break Deadlock, Beat Baylor Soccer 2-0

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