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Baylor Soccer

Baylor Soccer Roughed Up 6-0 by No. 1 Tarheels, Ties Program Record

August 28, 2022
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AUSTIN, Texas — Days after securing its first win of the season, Baylor Soccer suffered a record-tying 6-0 loss at the hand of No. 1 North Carolina.

After stating multiple times since her hiring that championships are the goal, this game was a reminder of just how far off Michelle Lenard’s squad currently is.

The Bears conceded goals in the first five minutes of each half, putting the team off kilter quickly. Both halves would end up 3-0. The first half had UNC goals in the 4th, 20th and 34th minutes, while the second half saw goals in the 50th, 57th and 63rd minutes.

“You don't want to give up a goal in the first five minutes of each half,” Coach Lenard said after the game, “That's lack of experience trying to play this way. Maybe lack of experience playing against that level of competition. We can mature through that grow, get better.”

The green and gold did create some chances for themselves though. They racked up six shots in each half with half of those being on goal.

North Carolina’s coach Anson Dorrance, who was nice enough to give me a minute of his time after the match said this: “I thought they did very, very well against us, especially creating with having 12 shots. We pride ourselves in not giving up anywhere near that many shots. So I have to tip my hat to the Baylor players and their coaching staff.”

Jack Mackenzie - SicEm365

The Best chances for Baylor came through Ashley Merrill, Elizabeth Kooiman, Blythe Obar, or Haven Terry.

In the first half, Kooiman sent a nice header in from the right win and Merrill just couldn’t get enough of it to really threaten the keeper. That was in the 12th minute.

Later that half, Baylor had the Tarheels hemmed in for a brief spell thanks to a corner kick, but Obar’s shot from the top of the box was blocked, and two subsequent chances were cleared by UNC around the 16th minute.

The Bear’s best chance of the entire match did not come till the 82nd minute though. In transition, a cross found Ashley Merrill toward the far post of goal. She headed it right down towards the goal line — a smart move to make the keeper get low quickly — but the Heel’s goalie made a great save then smothered the rebound shot attempt.

Haven Terry then had a breakaway chance in the 89th minute, but she lashed her shot over the crossbar.

It was a tough day for the Bears at both ends like that. Chances were created and missed with more chances given away at the other end.

Baylor was up against the best and possibly deepest team in the nation and chose to stay true to themselves.

“It was a great experience for us to feel what the best is like,” said coach Lenard, “Our mentality was come in... we want to commit to our style play, even if that meant we lose the game. But we're growing right now. And so we have to take these risks. We didn't want to end up in a low block with no opportunities.”

The Bears stuck to their game plan and now have plenty of film on the ways they need to improve. Great opponents will give that to you.

Lenard knows that the Heels are loaded with national team players and future professionals. And she does not seem particularly disheartened by the scoreline.

Jack Mackenzie - SicEm365

“They finished better today against us than they did in their last game, but they created just many opportunities in their last game,” said Lenard.

So there are plenty of lessons to take from Sunday’s game, both defensively and offensively. The effort level is not in question though.

After the game, UNC’s coach Dorrance said, “I tipped my hat to their kids who are fighters. They fought like hell and I thought the coaches had a good game plan.”

So moving forward, remember that this is a program in a state of flux. Half the roster played under the former coach Paul Jobson with a very different play style. The other half are freshmen or transfers, three of who had not played at the Division I level before this year.

None of that is to say that this team and this year’s roster can not turn things around. Every game provides lessons, and this game will surely provide an abundance.

There is so much room to grow, and the Bears surely know it now if they did not before.

6-0 hurts. It should hurt. Competitors use that pain to fuel their fire. That is what I expect many, if not all,  in green and gold to do.

WotM: Lauren Traywick — The scoreline doesn’t show it but she made some huge saves today. She played hard and took a beating.

Up Next: at Houston Thursday 9/1 7 PM CST (it might be on ESPN+ but I can’t say for certain)

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Baylor Soccer Roughed Up 6-0 by No. 1 Tarheels, Ties Program Record

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