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Soccer: Cajuns Fall 5-0 To Baylor In Season Opener

WACO, TEXAS – Despite freshman goalkeeper Victoria Ryan tieing a freshman school record with eight saves in the second half, Louisiana's women's soccer team dropped their 2017 opener with a tough loss to the Baylor Bears 5-0 at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field here in Waco, Texas.
The loss is the first of the season for Louisiana putting their record to start the season at 0-1-0, while Baylor gets their first win of the season putting their record at 1-0-0.
The Ragin' Cajuns were challenged from start to finish and played most of the game in their defending third, dealing with shot after shot from the Bears throughout the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Half)-  Sophomore Victoria Mendes started in goal, and she was busy throughout the first half as the match started quickly for Mendes, with Baylor taking a shot in the sixth minute that was blocked, followed by a quick counter by the Cajuns in the seventh minute where senior Denice Emokpae ripped a shot wide left.
Mendes recorded her first save of the season in the eighth minute, but the Bears didn't relent their attack. 
The Cajuns attempted to stay strong on the counter and in the 17th minute senior Taylor Kennedy ripped a shot just high of the Baylor goal.
As play continued Baylor earned a corner kick in the 27th minute that the Bears' Sarah King headed in past Mendes to put Baylor up 1-0.
Baylor added to their lead shortly after their first goal, when in the 29th minute, Baylor's Precious Akanyirige worked her way through the Cajun defense to put the Bears up 2-0.
Louisiana earned its first corner kick of the game in the 31st minute, which was taken by senior Cassandra Reyes, with nothing coming from it.  But it showed that the Cajuns weren't about to roll over and give up maintaining a strong work ethic throughout the first half.
In the 37th minute Baylor earned their third corner kick of the game and the Bears' King headed in her second goal of the game, both off corners, to extend Baylor's lead to 3-0 through the first half.
Before the half came to an end, Baylor would add one more goal to their sheet, when the Bears' Marissa Kinsey scored in the 41st minute.  When the half was done, the Bears held a 4-0 lead going into the locker rooms.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Half)- Ryan took over keeping duties to start the second half and she was quickly welcomed into the game with several shots on goal. 
But Ryan was warmed up and ready for the challenge recording her first and second saves back-to-back in the 47th minute.  Quickly after that she recorded another save in the 52nd minute, followed rather shortly in the 58th minute with another save making it four saves right off the bat for Ryan.
Baylor kept on the pressure, earning a corner kick in the 62nd and 64th minutes but the Cajuns defended the corners well keeping the Bears off the score sheet.
Ryan herself added yet another save, in the 65th minute, making it five within the first 20 minutes of the second half.  But the early work by Ryan showed she was unwilling to let Baylor add to their lead.
Back-to-back saves again came from Ryan when in the 70th and 71st minute, she maintained the brick wall she had built in the half, giving her seven saves through 27 minutes of the second half.
In the 85th minute Ryan snagged her eighth save on Baylor's 13th shot in the half on goal, as she continued to not allow Baylor to the satisfaction of adding to their lead.
But in the 88th minute Baylor finally broke through Ryan's brick wall, scoring on a goal from Kennedy Brown, putting the score at 5-0 in favor of Baylor.
The Cajuns did record two shots in the final four minutes of the match with freshman Grace Champagne ripping a shot on goal in the 87th minute and senior Haley Boroch put a shot high over the bar in the 89th minute to make sure Baylor's keeper, Hannah Parrish, stayed on her toes all the way to the end.

GAME NOTES: The eight saves by Ryan ties her for the most saves in a half by a freshman in Cajuns history, with Lauren Berlingo having done it at ULM on Oct. 31, 2009; The Cajuns finished with four shots with one on goal; Baylor recorded 38 shots through the game with 14 on goal.

UP NEXT: The Ragin' Cajuns stay on the road and return to the pitch looking to rebound with their first win of the season at Lamar on Sunday, Aug. 20.  The match starts at 6 p.m. and live stats will be available, courtesy of Lamar Athletics, on the women's soccer schedule page at RaginCajuns.com.

Follow @RaginCajunsSOC on twitter for links to live stats on match day and for any news about the Cajuns through the season.