Texas took the field against Baylor last night missing their number one offensive weapon, Kylie Doniak. Without Doniak leading the offensive corps at center-forward, a detoothed Horns side was unable to put the ball in the net for the first time in 9 games this season. Effectively shutting down the Horns attack, Baylor kept the game scoreless until the 88th minute when Bears leading scorer, Dana Larsen, punched the ball in to give Baylor the late lead. Texas mounted an urgent attack in final two minutes but was unable to equalize. Baylor held on to move to an 8-2-1 record to start their season, while the Horns fell to 6-3-0.
In their previous game on September 11th, the Horns won an epic battle in Los Angeles against USC, scoring the winning goal in double overtime. Then a twelve day break followed. The time away offered a rest from match play at near the halfway point of the regular season before conference play was to begin on September 23rd. Yet as sometimes happens in athletics, the time away wasn’t necessarily a boon. Kylie Doniak was injured during a practice session, tearing a ligament in her knee and will most likely miss the rest of the season.
With Kylie watching from the sideline alongside a still recovering Clarissa Wedemeyer, the Horns took the field against Baylor with a different look upfront. Vanessa Ibewuike started at the forward position for Kylie with Taylor Knaack and Hannah Higgins on the wings. There were no changes at midfield with Brooke Gilbert, Kristin Cummins, and Lexi Harris all starting. Holding down the back line were Lucy Keith, Nina Frausing Pedersen, Amanda Lisberger, and Julie Arnold with Texas’ rock-solid goalkeeper, Alexa Gaul, in net.
The first half was relatively unremarkable with very few shots taken by either side. Baylor’s Dana Larsen did get her shooting leg warmed up by taking the first shot of the game one minute in, adding a second shot ten minutes later. Both shots were saved by Texas keeper Alexa Gaul and were the only two shots on goal for Baylor in the half. Larsen also served in 2 of Baylor’s 4 corner kicks in the first half. All were cleared by Texas with no Baylor shots taken.
On Texas’ side of the ball, the Longhorns took 2 shots in the half. The first was a header by Lucy Keith from a corner kick served in by Taylor Knaack. Lucy’s header went wide left. The second was a shot by Kristin Cummins up the middle with 4 seconds left in the half and was blocked by a Baylor defender.
The 2nd Half
In the second half, as has been the case for the Horns so far this season, the Texas side came out on fire. Their energy level was up several notches and they immediately started applying pressure. Hannah Higgins blasted a shot one minute into the half which sailed wide right. Three minutes later, Taylor Knaack served in the first of three corner kicks in quick succession. The first found Vanessa Ibewuike who got off a shot but it was blocked. Knaack’s second corner minutes later found Lexi Harris who took a shot which was deflected off target by a Baylor defender. Knaack served in her third corner seconds later which found Lexi Harris again, with Lexi getting off a shot which was blocked.
At 59:54 Whitney Jaynes subbed in for Amanda Lisberger, Allison Smith came in for Vanessa Ibewuike, and Gabby Zarnegar came in for Kristin Cummins.
At 64:51 Hannah Higgins got the first shot on goal for Texas in the half, with Courtney Seelhorst making the save for Baylor
Baylor took three shots in the following ten minutes, all on goal, and all saved by Alexa Gaul.
Finally at 85:55, a foul by Baylor’s Staz Salinas led to a free kick for Texas from just outside the box. Nina Frausing Pedersen lined up to take it for Texas. Her shot sailed just a foot over the crossbar, barely missing the equalizer.
After Courtney Seelhorst’s goal kick, the ball was back in Texas’ end. Baylor had the ball deep to the left of Texas’ goal and tried to get the ball across. After a deflection with players converging to the left side, Natalie Huggins for Baylor finally directed the ball across the goal mouth and found Dana Larsen sneaking in unmarked on the back side. Larsen tapped the ball straight in unchallenged with no chance for a save by Gaul.
Baylor had the lead with two minutes to play. After a late foul by Baylor, Texas had a free kick from near midfield. Alexa Gaul came forward to take the kick and served up a boomer for Texas’ last chance to equalize. The Texas attackers were unable to capitalize though and the game ended in a 1-0 victory for Baylor.
By the numbers
Running Forever (mids and forwards): Brooke Gilbert (90 minutes on the field), Taylor Knaack (85 minutes), Kristin Cummins (81 minutes).
Ironwomen (defenders): Lucy Keith (90 minutes), Julie Arnold (90 minutes), Nina Frausing Pedersen (88 minutes)
In goal: Alexa Gaul, 5 saves
Other starter minutes:
Hannah Higgins, 73 minutes
Lexi Harris, 72 minutes
Amanda Lisberger, 66 minutes
Vanessa Ibewuike, 59 minutes
Gabby Zarnegar, 34 minutes
Allison Smith, 30 minutes
Whitney Jaynes, 24 minutes
Leah Payne, 12 minutes
Kara Hoffman, 5 minutes
Texas shots: 2 in first half, 7 in second half. (9 total shots)
As odd as it sounds, only one shot was on goal. However, shots such as Nina Frausing Pedersen’s free kick in the 86th minute were so close they seemed on-goal.
Baylor shots: 4 in first half, 5 in second half. (Total 9 shots)
6 of the 9 Baylor shots were on goal, with 1 going in
Number of subs with 10 minutes or more:
Baylor 8, Texas 4
Average minutes per sub: 25 for both Baylor and Texas
Baylor ran with a far deeper bench than Texas. Not quantifiable is the relative conditioning of the Texas side vs the Baylor side. Assuming conditioning was equal, Baylor would’ve had fresher legs somewhere on the field for an average of 25 minutes more than Texas.
Shots by subs: Baylor 4, Texas 0
Goals by subs: Baylor 0, Texas 0
Corner kicks: Texas 5, Baylor 5
Fouls: Baylor 12, Texas 6
Yellow Cards: Baylor 2, Texas 0
Three Stars of the Game for Texas
1. Alexa Gaul
Five saves for Texas and as always a dominating presence in front of goal. Generated offense for the Horns in an otherwise weak offensive performance by booming cannon shots over the top for Horns players to track down and move toward goal.
2. Hannah Higgins
Played her guts out all over the field
3. Lucy Keith
Played her guts out all over the field (rear guard as well as upfront on corners)
If you would like to vote on the Three Stars of the Game for Texas after any game, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your three picks for a game. We currently informally poll a few people who attend games and would like to expand our poll. All votes are confidential.