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Baylor Soccer

Sooners Sink Bears 2-0 in Big 12 Soccer Opener

September 23, 2022
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WACO, Texas — Baylor Soccer dropped a physical match 2-0 against the Oklahoma Sooners to start Big 12 play.

With a goal from open play in the 33rd minute and a free kick goal from long distance in the 82nd minute, the Sooners took care of business against a Baylor team struggling to create and convert offensively.

The Bears, now 2-5-2, continued to lack the “it-factor” for converting goal-scoring chances, being held scoreless for now 256 straight game minutes across the last three games.

The Bears did look bright at the start with junior midfielder Gabby Mueller putting a pair of shots just wide left of the OU goal in the 4th and 7th minutes.

“Well we came out in the first half and tried to change things up to get what we thought was a strategic advantage in midfield,” coach Michelle Lenard said after the game. “It did create opportunities for us on the ball in possession, in the attacking half. But because we weren't able to execute in those moments, we struggled in transition, which is really where we got exploited.”

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Early on, the green and gold’s defense was up to the task. Ava Colberg was on top of things with great attentiveness and solid clearance in the 11th minute. Then starting keeper Madison Martin made a very good save to deny the Sooners in the 28th.

However, the Bears could not deny OU all night. Colberg missed a tackle in the box and Ella Pappas got the ball out from her feet to rocket a shot past Martin. 1-0 in the 33rd minute.

The Bears tried hard to respond quickly with Elizabeth Kooiman getting on the end of Haven Terry cross just two minutes later. The headed shot popped up and over the crossbar, harmlessly out of play.

That was one of Baylor’s better chances all night, with many other attacking sequences getting snuffed out before a shot could be taken.

“We're getting chances in the space between the back line and the midfield line,” said coach Lenard, “And we lack the final pass. So to answer your question, no, it's not doing enough, but we're one pass away from that being a lot more.”

Oklahoma tried to double the Bears' deficit before the half, but Martin came up with a good tip save over the crossbar to get Baylor into the locker room down just 1-0.

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In the second half, Lenard was able to deploy freshman center forward Morgan Greengage (No. 25) for the first time this season. Along with a tactical shift to sure up the team in transition, the Bears looked better in the second frame.

“It was nice to have a center forward and I think it showed,” remarked Lenard, “Limited on minutes right now, but I thought she did a good job holding the ball up, playing simple.”

Greengage was involved in what was Baylor’s definitive best chance of the game in the 58th minute.

Jenna Patterson drove down the right wing, and put a nice cross in that Maddie Algya converted into a good shot on goal. The Sooners' keeper made the save but spilled the ball to Ashley Merrill. Merrill’s shot from the far post was also saved at close range. Finally, Elizabeth Kooiman got the rebound from that over to Greengage who slashed a shot wide right of goal.

It was one of those “How did they not convert? Oklahoma is very lucky” type of sequences.

So the game continued at 1-0 Sooners until the 82nd minute when OU won a free kick from a considerable distance away from the Baylor goal. Whether it was intended as a shot or not, it was just under the crossbar and just too tall for Madison Martin. 2-0 Oklahoma.

And that is how the game would end. A fifth defeat for the Bears in nine games and 0-1 in conference play. It has clearly been a struggle for this team.

“We're in a rut here. We can't find a way to get the ball in the back of the net. And so our challenge now is can we keep struggling through this? Can we struggle well?”

That is what Coach Lenard is asking of her team now.

Can they fight the good fight and keep getting a little bit better every day until they break through and the work actually starts showing on the scoreboard more?

Some help is on the way with more players getting healthy each week.

“Next week we should get Reneta [Vargas] back, which is another center forward. So I really think if we can keep our heads up, things will start to come together as we bring back some key positions.”

WotM: Hallie Augustyn — She had a very solid game in defense and did not have any defensive play stick out, which means she did her job well (at least as far as I could tell).

Up Next: at Texas Friday 9/30 7 PM CST (LHN)

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