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Baylor Soccer

Baylor Soccer Out-Paced by Nebraska, Falls 2-1

August 20, 2023

LINCOLN, Nebraska — Baylor Soccer suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of the Nebraska Cornhusker by a score of 2-1.

First half goals from Florence Belzile and Abbey Schwarz saw the hosts build a 2-0 lead before Callie Conrad drew one back for the Bears with 15 seconds left in the first half. It was Conrad’s first goal of her freshman season.

The first half was rough for the Green-and-Gold. The Cornhuskers looked faster and more decisive, winning the majority of second balls and forcing many mistakes out of the Bears. 

Those mistakes limited possession for Baylor and helped Nebraska dictate the pace of play and even the style to a certain extent. The Bears played a bit more direct than in the opener on Thursday because of this and only registered six shots in the first 45. 

Meanwhile, Nebraska riddled Baylor’s defense with 12 shots and put two past Makinzie Short before a half hour had gone by.

The first Cornhusker goal came in the 10th minute when a sloppy chipped pass from Natalie Vatter in the build up went into the middle of the field and was collected by Nebraska. The Huskers started pinging the ball around very quickly. They strung five or six passes together in a matter of seconds and sent a cross from the right side of the Bears’ 18-yard box to the far post. There the ball was knocked down and made its way to the feet of Florence Belzile inside the Baylor six-yard box and right in front of goal. Belzile smashed it past Makinzie Short to make it 1-0 Nebraska.

Then in the 27th minute, another turnover in build up play — this time from Skye Leach — was quickly turned into a dangerous shooting opportunity. 

It took the Cornhuskers just two passes this time to send Abbey Schwarz in on goal. Hallie Augustyn got a little turned around and Schwarz made a good run off her back shoulder between the two center backs. The through ball was well-weighted and Schwarz just poked it around Short, who was rushing off her line to pressure. The ball took its time trickling over the line but it was inevitable. 2-0 Nebraska.

There was what looked to be a third Nebraska goal in the 42nd minute, but after video review (which I did not realize was in use for College Soccer regular season games) the ref stood with his call of no goal on the field. Short had kept the ball out her goal just barely after a Nebraska corner and tech ensuing scrum in the Baylor box.

While they did not control the game, the Bears did create a couple good chances in the first half.

In just the third minute, Tyler Isgrig made a lung-bursting run from box to box down the left flank before finding Ashley Merrill who sent a shot right at the Nebraska keeper.

The Green-and-Gold were finally able to draw one back in the closing seconds of the first half thanks to some scrappy play. 

Natalie Vatter won a free kick in the aftermath of of a Baylor corner kick. Leach took the free kick and sent a great ball in that Hannah Augustyn got her head on. It was a good header that was just slightly too high, banging off the crossbar and heading back into the crowded box. 

Callie Conrad then muscled herself over a Nebraska defender and sent a looping header into the back of the net. 2-1 with 15 seconds left in the half.

That scored held for not just halftime but for the entire second half as well. 

While the Bears showed an improved spell of possession and control right after the mid-game break, Nebraska settled back down and saw things out. 

Both teams matched their first half shooting totals making it 12 and 24 shots over the full game for the Bears and Cornhuskers respectively. 

Mixed in with the nervy defensive moments for the Bears were a couple of good scoring opportunities. The best of these came in the 64th minute when Skylar Zinnecker sent a curling shot in from the top of the 18-yard box on the right side. It pinged off the crossbar on the left side of goal. A foot lower and the ball is in the net and Baylor is on level footing with their hosts. 

Instead, Nebraska kicked into gear and limited Baylor’s possession to see out the game.

It was a physical game in some tough conditions — 93 degrees, 60% humidity and direct sun — but Nebraska found ways to consistently win the second ball, get there a step quicker, and identify the run to make or defend a second quicker.

With six days until the Bears’ next matchup at Texas A&M, Michelle Lenard will certainly have her team working on their speed of play and decision-making under pressure. 

Good teams expose areas to improve upon, and today’s shortcomings are not devastating imperfections, especially this early in the year.

Nonetheless, Baylor will need to improve in these areas to give themselves every chance of reaching the Big 12 tournament and hopefully finishing at or above .500.

WotM — Callie Conrad 

Today’s goal scorer found a way. That’s what Baylor will always need. Her goal also kept the Bears very close through the rest of the game, just one good break away from tying.

Up Next — at Texas A&M (Saturday, August 26 — 7:00 PM CST on SEC Network+)

Discussion from...

Baylor Soccer Out-Paced by Nebraska, Falls 2-1

2,149 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 11 mo ago by maxmayfield
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Just beat Aggy !!!
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I'm really looking forward to this tournament and I might go here to see one of the matches live. I'm thinking to wear my favorite howard university varsity jacket to enjoy the complete vibe of the match.
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