FUTBAL BACK, Y'ALL!
The Bears their season with a 1-1 opening weekend in Michigan with a 3-0 victory over Detroit Mercy and a narrow 1-0 loss to Michigan State. Following that trip, Baylor returned to the 254 to face Purdue and Incarnate Word.
On Friday, following a lightning/rain delay, the Bears took it to the Boilermakers, 5-1. I wasn't able to attend that match, but BaylorBears.com has the recap here. Looks like the lightning delay had the ladies raring to go as they scored two goals in the first seven and a half minutes. Sarah King got the first goal, Lauren Piercy netted her first of the night a few minutes later, and Ariel Leach got the final goal of the half in the 21st minute. Purdue would get a goal back, but never really threatened to tie it up. Like the first half, the Bears started hot and scored two more goals (Piercy, Padgett) for a 5-1 final score.
Today, Incarnate Word was in town to wrap up the first home weekend. Thankfully, there was no rain to be found on the warm, mildly humid day. In a very similar manner to Friday's match, the Bears came out on fire. An early cross from freshman Raegan Padgett found sophomore Lauren Piercy in the box, who headed the ball home for a second-minute goal. Throughout the early first half, Baylor utterly dominated possession of the ball and launched a barrage of shots at the opposing keeper. Padgett was particularity impressive as a winger; she was everywhere on the pitch.
Around 15 minutes in, the UIW keeper took a rebounded ball to the face and had to be subbed off. Her replacement struggled to keep up with the amount of shots Baylor was sending her way, but she did manage to keep the Bears out of the net until halftime. At this point, the Bears had 11 shots and 5 corners while the Cardinals had none of either stat.
Two minutes in (sound familiar?), senior Ashley York took a corner and, after some bobbling about in the box, the ball found its way off of junior Precious Akanyirige's head, over the keeper, and into the net for the Bears' second goal of the match. The second half was a tad more relaxed than the first, especially as it became clear that Baylor was not going to be letting the Cardinals back in this match. Still, the offense for Baylor produced even more shots than in the first half, many of which were mere inches from going into the back of the net. Lauren Piercy was at home at center forward and confounded the UIW defense with her technical skills and hustle. I am a huge fan of her playing that position.
UIW finally got their first and second shots on goal around the 60th minute, but their advances were foiled when one of their defenders received a straight red card mere minutes later for prohibiting Padgett from a clear chance on goal. Playing the last 30 or so minutes a man down, it was all UIW could do to keep the Bears at bay. With two minutes left in the game, the Bears broke the Cardinals defense once again as the freshman out of Katy Morton Ranch (shout out to Dex) Ashley Thornhill headed a gorgeous cross from sophomore Jackie Crowther back across the net and into goal.
The final scoreline of 3-0 for the Bears is pretty telling of how dominate they were throughout the match. Shots finished 25-2 and corners were 6-0 in favor of the Wacoans.
While UIW is not near the quality of a top Big 12 side like West Virginia, I was nonetheless impressed with Baylor's performance today. The offense looks to be firing on all cylinders and, with 17, 19, and 24 shots in the last three games, they are certainly getting chances. The defense for Baylor has always been a strong point under the Jobsons and today was no different. UIW simply had no chance of scoring today. What's even more impressive is that this team is young; there are only five seniors on the roster. This year and the next few will be exciting!
Player of the Game: Lauren Piercy. Piercy commands the offensive third of the pitch with impressive dribbling and distribution skills. She is a fine replacement for the lost production from Bri Campos.
The Bears travel for the next two weekends and will return home to face Washington on the 16th of September at 19:00.