Oct. 19, 2007
LINCOLN, Neb. - Megan Sherrell's first career hat trick ended the senior's five-game scoreless streak, Baylor's six-game winless streak, and evened the Bear's record at 7-7-2 as the women's soccer team rolled past Nebraska, 4-1, on Friday at the Nebraska Soccer Field in Lincoln, Neb.
Entering the contest the Bears held a 3-12 all-time record against the Huskers and had not posted a win against Nebraska since the 2004 season; however, the 2007 squad had no need to dwell on the past as the Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the break.
In the game's 10th minute, Sherrell raced to a loose ball and was able to gain possession before chipping the ball over Nebraska goalkeeper Jessica Mills. With her seventh goal of the season, Sherrell collected points 20 and 21 on the season, giving her the most points for an individual since Molly Cameron recorded 24 points in 2000.
Sherrell's day was just beginning, however, as the Mesquite, Texas, native added another goal at the 22-minute mark. Junior Carolyn Lynch headed a long ball ball that was collected by Sherrell, who beat the UNL keeper from the top of the box to record her eighth goal of the season.
Before the first half came to a close, senior defender Rose Zapata added to Baylor's lead. Zapata set up for a free kick from 35 yards out and blasted the ball on a hard line straight to the back of the top-right corner for her second goal of the season. Zapata also scored on a free kick against then-No. 20 Missouri on Sept. 30. Her two goals this season are the first two of her four-year career.
Following Zapata's goal, Nebraska replaced the starting Mills with back-up goalie Brittany Pfeil.
After the break, Baylor added its fourth and final goal of the game from 35 yards out. With the ball in the Nebraska zone and Pfeil playing off her line, Sherrell sent a bending ball up over Pfeil's head for her third goal of the game.
"Our team wanted to make a statement today," said head coach George Van Linder. "We've been in a lot of games this season and always seemed to come out on the wrong end. This is a team that knows they can with the best teams in our conference and the girls want everyone to know that this game was not a fluke; there's a reason we won this game and have been right there in all of our other conference matches."
Sherrell's hat trick, the first of her career, was the first for Baylor since Anna Schuch scored three goals against Northwestern State on Sept. 9, 2005. Sherrell became the fifth player in Baylor history to record a hat trick and the first to do so against a Big 12 opponent since Courtney Saunders scored three times against Texas Tech on Oct. 30, 1999; it was Baylor's first hat trick against Nebraska.
"Megan really caught fire at a time when we needed it most," Van Linder said. "To come out on the road and perform the way she did just put an extra spark in everyone on the field and makes each of the girls want to play that much harder."
Accounting for six of Baylor's nine points on the day, Sherrell recorded the ninth-most individual points in a match, a feat accomplished just eight other times in Baylor soccer history.
Senior netminder Ashley Noah was back in action between the pipes for Baylor after missing last weekend with a sore hamstring. Noah stopped all 12 shots she faced in her 80-plus minutes of action.
"Ashley's a warrior for this squad," Van Linder said. "She made some unbelievable saves and did some things in net that we didn't know if she would be able to do after returning. She was disappointed in the fact that we sat her last weekend, but medically we had to. We weren't sure how she would respond in a game situation, but she battled through. Without her outstanding play Nebraska could have had a couple goals in the first half."
Sophomore Gianna Quintana replaced Noah late in the second half and faced just two shots while allowing Nebraska's lone goal in the game's 85th minute.
The Bears dominated on the scoreboard despite being out-shot by the `Huskers 29-8; Baylor led in all other statistical categories, attempting six corner kicks to Nebraska's one, and committing 16 fouls compared to just six for Nebraska. For the match, Baylor had 13 saves, tying a team record for most saves in a conference match. The record was first established on Aug. 29, 1999, when the Bears lost to Nebraska, 3-0.
Nebraska's duo of goalies recorded just one save in the contest.
Baylor returns to action on Sunday as they play the second part of a two-game road trip. The Bears cross the Nebraska-Iowa border to take on the Iowa State Cyclones at Edinburg Stadium in Ames, Iowa. Start time for the contest is schedule for 1:00 p.m.
n Sherrell now has nine goals on the season, tied for tenth most in a single season and ninth most in an individual career.
n Sherrell is averaging 1.56 points-per-game through the first 16 games of the season. Her points-per-game average is currently the seventh highest single-season average in Baylor soccer history.
n Baylor's 13 combined saves (Noah-12, Quintana 1) ties a Baylor record for most saves in a Big 12 contest. The record was first established on Aug. 29, 1999, against Nebraska.
n Baylor recorded its seventh win of the season, the most win by a Baylor squad since 2003, head coach George Van Linder's first year at the helm of the program.
n The win ends a six-game winless streak, Baylor's longest since 2005 when the Bears lost seven straight from Sept. 11 through Oct. 7.
n Baylor's win over Nebraska give the Bears four points in conference play this season, moving them past the `Huskers in the Big 12 standings. Baylor has three more Big 12 games before the end of the regular season and is still within reach of earning a berth in the conference's postseason tournament.