A steamy, but breezy, Sunday afternoon saw the Baylor Bears put down the Huskies of Houston Baptist. Although the teams played out to a scoreless draw this spring, there was really only one team in the game this go-round.
Much like Friday's victory over Rice, the first half possession and shots favored Baylor (~60% and 8-0, respectively), yet neither team was able to break through on goal. A good three-quarters of the half was spent in HBU's half; Baylor simply would not let the Huskies into their half of the pitch. Because they had the majority of the possession, the Bears also had many more chances to put the ball on goal. Probably three or four of the shots in the first half could have been solid shots on goal if a Huskies defender had not got a foot in at the last moment. Forward Sarah Moghadas went down with an injury late in the half, but she was able to walk off under her own power and would return to the pitch later in the match.
The second half started off with a bang as forward Justine Hovden burst past the Houston Baptist defense and beat the keeper in a 1-on-1 situation to give Baylor the lead. Hovden was very good at powering her way down the flanks in the film I watched for the season preview and she certainly is maintaining her reputation with her play through these first two games. Baylor continued to hold possession and control the game throughout the rest of the half. Sara Martinson, the back-up-but-still-plays-good-minutes keeper came in and was very vocal and commanding, which, as a former keeper, I love to see. Bri Campos nearly gave the Bears the clinching goal from almost thirty yards out about two-thirds of the way through the half, but she missed just left. As time was winding down, Sarah Moghadas pulled a nasty move on the touchline to nutmeg the defender, allowing her to put the ball across the net, where it eventually fell to forward Natalie Huggins, who chipped it in from Klose range. Huggins' goal was her first of the season and put the game to bed, despite HBU throwing numbers forward in an attempt to equalize.
#DefenseU showed up strong today as Houston Baptist did not even register a shot until there were three minutes left in the game. The Bears now have two shutouts in as many games. Even when HBU was pushing forward, the wall held strong. On the offensive side, Baylor produced numerous chances, though only two found the back of the net - credit to HBU for that. Although there were a few crosses that could have been turned into goal if someone had got to the back post in time. But I'm nitpicking here; it was a great all-around win and should give the Bears momentum as they head off to Utah next weekend.
Player of the Game:
Justine Hovden. In addition to scoring the game-winning goal, she was hustling all over the pitch and played really well on the flanks today.
Baylor heads to Utah this weekend to face Utah Valley on Friday and BYU on Sunday.