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Baylor Soccer

Baylor Soccer Wins Third Straight, Beating UCF in Orlando 2-1

October 8, 2023
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ORLANDO, Florida — Baylor Soccer (8-5-2, 3-3-1) used a late goal from defender Hallie Augustyn to earn its third straight win and get back to .500 in Big 12 play with a 2-1 victory over the UCF Knights (8-5-0, 4-3-0).

Aside from Augustyn’s 82nd-minute goal, Salma Simonin opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a beautiful header goal while UCF answered just three minutes later in the 16th minute.

The Bears overcame not just the Knights, but frankly some poor referees who missed a handball on UCF in their own box. The refs did not use video review to reconsider that call but they did use it later on in considering making UCF free kick a penalty kick as well as possibly disallowing Baylor’s winner. In the end, all calls on the field stood.

Overall on the day, Baylor looked like the better team. The Bears’ counter press — harassing the ball immediately after you turn it over — was energetic and effective. The Knights struggled to build meaningful possession all game, and Baylor truly dictated the course of events.

An early goal goes a long way in that regard, and the Green-and-Gold could not have asked for a prettier first score.

Hannah Augustyn sent essentially a perfect elevated cross in from the left wing as Salma Simonin drifted into space between the two UCF center backs. Simonin rose up and connected on a header that she directed brilliantly into the bottom left corner of the Knights’ goal. 1-0 Baylor.

The lead would be short-lived though, with the Knights finding an equalizer before three full minutes had passed.

The hosts were putting pressure on the Baylor defensive line when Blythe Obar looked to clear the ball. The clearance unluckily went straight to the UCF right winger Dayana Martin inside of the Baylor box. Martin used her first touch to pass the ball to center forward Chloe Netzel. Netzel then took a first-time shot, knocking the ball past Ashlee Zirkel and into the right side of the goal. 1-1.

As the half went on, Baylor settled into more control and the Bears had the better chances to take the lead. 

Chief among those opportunities was a 44th-minute corner kick where the ball trickled out to Obar whose low, fast shot had to be deflected out by a UCF defender to save a gaol.

After the halftime break, the game did not change much with the Baylor press making possession incredibly tough to keep for the Knights.

When the home team did get to attack the Baylor defense, they had little luck, especially when going at Ava Colberg. The junior defender had a great day, shutting down every attacker that came her way.

At the other end, the Bears were unlucky to not be awarded a penalty kick early in the half. Callie Conrad sent a cross in from the right wing in the 53rd minute and the ball found Tyler Isgrig in the box. Isgrig hit a bouncing shot toward goal, but it was intercepted by a UCF defender who knocked the ball up into her own hand.

While it was clearly an accident, the Knight clearly handled the ball in the box changing the path of the ball. That should be a penalty every single time.

The referee waved off Baylor’s shouts and did not review the play.

As both teams tired toward the end of the game, it felt like someone would break the deadlock before it was all said and done.

Ashley Merrill gave up a dangerous free kick with about 20 minutes left, and the ref reviewed that play to see if the foul occurred inside of Baylor’s box. It did not and the resulting free kick was a shot saved by Zirkel.

A few minutes later, Theresa McCullough created problems for UCF with her crosses, including one that Merrill poked onto the far right post before being called offside.

Then with just under ten minutes left in the game, McCullough sent a corner in from the right side. Hallie Augustyn got on the end of it and sent a first-time shot in with her right foot. The ball bounced through some traffic and beat the stretching UCF keeper to the bottom left corner of the goal. 2-1 Baylor.

A part of that “traffic” was Merrill whom the refs reviewed the play to reconsider whether she interfered with the keeper. They stood with the call on the field.

UCF would not go down without a fight, working multiple decent chances in the final minutes. The Knights even sent a corner kick into the Baylor box as the final 10 seconds were ticking away, but the Bears cleared the ball and held on for a hard-earned 2-1 victory.

It was Baylor’s third Big 12 win in a row, their fourth game unbeaten in a row, and gives Michelle Lenard more Big 12 wins on the season than she had last year.

The Bears are now tied for 7th in the conference with West Virginia with both teams on 10 points. Baylor is now getting very close to securing a spot in the Big 12 tournament, with fellow mid-table team Cincinnati visiting Waco on Thursday.

That contest will be both Senior Night and Scarf Night for the Bears.

WotM — Hallie Augustyn and Ava Colberg — Scoring the game-winner was massive, but Colberg’s great defensive performance cannot be denied either. 

Up Next — vs. Cincinnati on Thursday, October 12th at 7 PM CST (ESPN+)

 
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