No. 23 BYU women’s soccer team fell to the Baylor Bears, 2-1, on Monday at South Field.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the result for sure,” BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood said. “We had great support and we didn’t give the fans what they came to see.”
The Cougars (1-1-2) started the game slowly and never quite recovered. Baylor (3-1-0) was able to seize momentum right before halftime when Justine Hovden took a shot from 25 yards out that beat BYU keeper Katherine Snyder in the top left corner to give Baylor a 1-0 lead.
“Give a lot of credit to Baylor. They came in and knocked us around in the first 45 minutes and proved that they wanted it more,” Rockwood said. “For some reason, we weren’t ready to start this game and we have to regroup and start over again.”
Michele Murphy threatened first for the Cougars. Murphy took the throw-in from Jaiden Thornock and weaved through two Baylor defenders before she attempted a weak shot attempt that was stopped by Baylor goalie Michelle Kloss.
Marissa Nimmer had BYU’s best scoring chance in the 43rd minute. With the ball bouncing off players at the top of the box, Nimmer tried a chip shot that the Baylor goalie was just able to jump up and catch, keeping the Cougars off the board in the first half.
BYU out-shot Baylor, 5-2, in the first half but was unable to get anything past Kloss in net for the Bears.
Baylor came out firing right away to start the second half and added to its lead in the 46th minute. Precious Akanyirige stole the ball from a BYU defender inside the box and scored just inside the left post, beating BYU keeper Hannah Clark who replaced Snyder at the half.
BYU threatened shortly after when Elena Medeiros beat several Baylor defenders at midfield and led an offensive attack for BYU. She passed forward to Ashley Hatch who fired a shot from the right side of the box and hit the left post. The ball bounced off the near post before the keeper was able to corral the ball.
Elisabeth Phillips cut the lead in half after Thornock led an attack up the left side and crossed the ball into the box where Nadia Gomes took a shot, which hit a Baylor defender in the arm for a penalty kick. Phillips drilled the penalty past the keeper in the 89th minute to cut the Baylor lead to 2-1.
The Cougars weren’t able to find an equalizer in the last minute, losing with a final score of 2-1. The loss snaps a nine-game regular season unbeaten streak and a seven-game home unbeaten streak.
Despite taking 14 shots to Baylor's five and having twice as many corner kick opportunities (4-2), BYU was unable to find the net until the final minute of the game when it was too little, too late.
BYU travels to Salt Lake City to take on the University of Utah in the Deseret First Duel on Friday, Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network, and the Cougar IMG Sports Network will broadcast the game live on the BYU Athletics website and the BYU Cougars app.
Zach Brady is a student at BYU and current BYU swimming & diving SID. TWITTER: @Zachbrady7 EMAIL: Zachbrady7@gmail.com.