Saunders' 4-goal attack downs TechNov. 2, 1999
By TRAVIS THOLEN
Baylor finished the regular season in senior fashion this weekend with a 5-2 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday night at the Baylor Soccer Complex.
Senior forwards Courtney Saunders and Nikki Hales barraged the Tech defense for the last 50 minutes on three trips where Hales assisted Saunders on goals. Saunders collected her first four-goal game of her Baylor career and her fourth hat trick. Hales recorded a team record for assists in a game with three.
'I knew it was coming, and I had that feeling that we were going to be on tonight,' Saunders said.
Trailing 1-0, Baylor's head Coach Nick Cowell substituted junior midfielder Gina Castellano and sophomore midfielder Juli Goin. Within minutes of the move, the green and gold offense sparked a three-goal blitz in a seven-minute period on a muddy surface filled with puddles.
'It is kind of odd on a night like this that it turned out that way,' Castellano said. 'We had a lot of opportunities early and started putting some away. That got our confidence on and it worked out well.'
Bear reserve forward Megan Townes fed Saunders outside the box for a 23-yard shot that found the net for her 14th goal of the season. Just 38 seconds elapsed when Saunders kicked a cross-pass to Hales who kicked a bullet off Tech goalkeeper Brittney Peese. Castellano put the rebound in off Peese for her third goal of the season making the score 2-1. Four minutes later Saunders struck again with an unassisted 20-yard shot from the top of the box.
'[It was] one of those flurry of activities; I've been saying that one day we would score a lot goals consecutively,' Cowell said.
Less than two minutes after Saunder's goal, Hales, from the right side, sent an assist-pass to Saunders for yet another score. The last goal for the Bears came after 76 minutes when Hales ricocheted a shot off Peese that Saunders stuffed into the goal for her fourth of the game and 17th on the season.
'It was like old times,' Hales said about the duo with Saunders. 'Every time I got the ball tonight it did not matter if I looked up or not, I knew where she was, and we were clicking.'
Tech started the scoring in the game when midfielder Lizzy Biles connected from Carrie Graham's pass just more than nine minutes into the contest. Biles went unassisted through the Bear defense late in the game to score again with a straight-up 12-yard shot that beat Bear goalkeeper Dawn Greathouse.
According to Saunders, she was in the right spots at the right time to make shots in the recent games.
Next, the Bears enter the Big 12 Conference Tournament in San Antonio as the fourth seed with a conference mark of 6-3-1. They will face the Texas Longhorns, the fifth seed, on Wednesday.