It was a balmy Friday afternoon as the Baylor Bears Women's Soccer Team took to the pitch against the Rice Owls. After splitting their pre-season games versus Sam Houston State (1-0 victory) and at Florida (2-0 loss). Florida is set to be one of the best teams in the country this year, so the loss is not too discouraging, though it is always nice to win.
But pre-season games are just that: pre-season games. Their results have no consequences on regular season standings. The players were tired of scrimmaging themselves; it was time to take that passion to another team.
Enter Rice, winners of two pre-season games against SFA (1-0) and TCU (3-2). The Owls are always a tough out and they showed that last night.
The first half lacked goals, but not action. Baylor led the shot differential 9-2, but both keepers were well tested, including a phenomenal fingertip save from BU keeper Kloss in the 23rd minute. All credit to Rice's keeper as well; she kept out several close chances.
The second half brought about more evenly-matched play. Baylor remained ahead in shots, 5-3, but Rice had a 4-1 advantage in corners, including three in a row late in the half. Both teams traded possession until a Baylor hand ball in the 71st minute gave Rice a penalty kick. Thankfully, Kloss read the kick correctly and was able to keep the game scoreless. Baylor had a few more chances to win in regulation, but the game was destined for overtime.
Nothing came of overtime until the final minutes, when Natalie Huggins powered past the Rice defenders to play a ball into Bri Campos, who received the ball, cut inside, and slotted the ball past the keeper to seal the victory for the Bears.
Players of the Game:
Obviously, it is difficult to choose just two - the entire team played well - but keeper Michelle Kloss, for her penalty save as well as the rest of the saves she made, and Bri Campos, for her game winner, are my two players of the game.
Baylor takes on Houston Baptist tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. at Betty Lou Mays. The Bears and the Huskies played out to a nil-nil draw this spring and are a "scrappy, little, hard-nosed team" according to Coach Marci Jobson.