After failing to score during a two-game road trip to Oklahoma last weekend, the Baylor soccer team was determined to finish off opportunities at the net against Texas Tech.
With Camryn Wendlandt, Precious Akanyirige and Julie James scoring goals, the Bears had plenty to go around in a 3-0 win over the Red Raiders on Friday night at Betty Lou Mays Field.
Scoring their most goals in Big 12 play this season, the Bears’ offensive explosion was welcome after last weekend’s 0-0 double-overtime tie against Oklahoma and a 1-0 overtime loss to No. 25 Oklahoma State.
“It just felt really nice to finally put some goals away,” Wendlandt said. “Nothing could stop us. This gives us a lot of confidence because we hadn’t scored in the last two games even though we had a ton of chances. We’re excited to keep putting goals away and see what we can do during the rest of the Big 12.”
The Bears improved to 8-3-2 overall and evened their Big 12 record at 2-2-1 with four regular season games remaining.
Though the Bears have been aggressive offensively all season, they’ve had trouble scoring goals. But Baylor coach Paul Jobson saw a more focused team against the Red Raiders (8-5-1, 1-3-1).
“It was just an overall great performance from everybody,” Jobson said. “We weren’t stressed about not scoring, but at some point you hope that lid comes off the back of the goal and you’re able to put some in the back of the net. Texas Tech’s no joke. They’ve been scoring a lot of goals this year, too, and we were able to shut them out.”
Taking advantage of a perfectly placed pass by Sarah King, Wendlandt scored the first goal on a header 16 minutes into the game.
“She has amazing talent and I feel so lucky to play with a player like her,” Wendlandt said. “She just put the ball in the right place. It was nothing that I did.”
Fourteen minutes later, the Bears were at it again as Akanyirige scored following Caitlin Schwartz’s corner kick to open up a 2-0 lead.
“I told the team at halftime, they looked like they had been doing that kick for six years, and we just introduced it this week,” Jobson said. “Their level of focus tonight was just through the roof. And that was a great example of their focus, just being able to execute that literally after we had run it three times in practice.”
Early in the second half, James scored her first goal of the season when she corralled a rebound off the post following Aline De Lima’s missed penalty kick.
“I was in that line and made sure that I would get to it if something happened,” James said. “Aline always makes them, but if something happened I would be there. I always tell Aline I have her back on the field, so I wanted to show that to her tonight and it was a good way to prove it to her.”
Baylor freshman Jennifer Wandt continued her stellar goalkeeping as she collected four saves.
“She didn’t have to do a ton, but great goalkeepers step up when they need to,” Jobson said. “I think the biggest thing for us was just her ability to relieve pressure for us. Our backs get in a bind, and they’re able to knock the ball back to her and have confidence that she can do it was big for us tonight, too.”
The Bears will hit the road to face Kansas State on Oct. 13 and Kansas on Oct. 15 before coming home to play Texas on Oct. 20. The Bears finish the regular season against TCU in Fort Worth on Oct. 27.