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Baylor Soccer

Baylor Soccer Soundly Beaten by West Virginia 3-1

October 16, 2022
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Morgantown, W.Va. — Baylor Soccer (4-8-2, 2-4-0) finished its road trip 1-1 after a 3-1 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers Sunday Afternoon.

Despite Ashley Merrill scoring the opening goal, the Bears were largely controlled by the Mountaineers, registering just five shots through the 90 minutes with just two on goal.

Meanwhile, the Baylor defense continued to struggle with set pieces. After the tying goal for WVU was scored from open play in a transitional moment, the winner and the security goal were scored on corner kicks in the second half. That makes four goals in the last two games allowed from set-piece chances, three of which were corners.

Jenna Patterson and Ashley Merrill looked bright early on for the green and gold. Patterson seems to have a good understanding with Gabby Mueller at this point in the year, and was making a lot of good runs down the right wing.

Baylor’s goal, however, came from a lofted Elizabeth Kooiman cross on the left wing. The WVU defenders made a mess of it, with the far-side centerback heading the ball back in between herself and the near-side centerback, right where Ashley Merrill was waiting to pounce.

With the lucky chance, Merrill made sure she needed no luck on the finish and put the Bears up 1-0 in the 13th minute.

The goal was Merrill’s fourth on the year and put her just one goal back of Reneta Vargas for the team lead.

Immediately following that goal was the best Baylor looked all day. They looked confident and the game was flowing well with the Bears on the front foot.

Around the 20th minute though, the tide turned. WVU worked their way into control of the game and grabbed an equalizer in the 27th minute.

After Baylor lost the ball in a transitional moment, the Mountaineers hit hard on the counter. AJ Rodriguez got a shot off well into the Baylor box, a curling shot toward the right post. The ball was likely going just wide, but Ava Colberg could not quite get out of the way, giving the ball the slightest glance back toward goal. 

That deflection was all that was needed to get the shot inside the post. 1-1.

The Bears could never get back to agile attacking. The WVU press made the Bears' offense disconnected from the defense. In fact, Baylor only registered 3 shots in the first half and two in the second half.

If the Bears could have held on for a draw, that would have been huge for their Big 12 tournament hopes, but they could not. Although they did not give up a lot of great chances from open play, the green and gold surrendered 10 corner kicks over the course of the game.

Corner kicks have consistently given the Bears trouble this year, and today was no different. Lofted corners to the far post are a favorite of Baylor’s opponents and Iowa State scored on just such a corner on Thursday night.

West Virginia did their scouting and used the same tactic to deadly effect. In the 54th minute, Lauren Segalla placed a great header in the top right corner of goal to give the Mountaineers a 2-1 lead.

32 minutes later in the 82nd minute, after no standout chances for the visitors in between, Annika Leslie sent a lofted corner to the far post for WVU. The corner went directly in for a goal, an “olympico” if you are familiar with the term. A very rare kind of goal and good for a 3-1 lead.

That would be the final scoreline, as the Bears just could not create shots on a day when the opposition’s best defender was unavailable due to a red card. 

Given the schedule Baylor has left and the circumstances of the early lead, this is a tough missed opportunity for the green and gold. 

The Bears have three more chances to secure points and thereby a spot at the conference tournament in Round Rock. Those opportunities and opponents will be tough, but depending on how other games playout elsewhere, they might not need much.

WotM: Ashley Merrill — She was at the right place at the right time and calmly converted. Thanks to her goal today, the Bears have scored eight goals in their last four games. They had scored seven in the first 10 games.

Up Next: at Texas Tech Thursday 10/20 7 PM CST ESPN+

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Baylor Soccer Soundly Beaten by West Virginia 3-1

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