By Parmida Schahhosseini
No. 7 Baylor soccer is ready to protect its home field by striving to get a pair of wins against two dynamic offenses beginning with Cal Poly at 7 p.m. today and finishing with McNeese State at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to this weekend,” Baylor co-head coach Marci Jobson said. “It’s going to be very good games. Cal Poly comes in undefeated with the nation’s leading goal scorer on their team so it’s going to be a very tough match and then Saturday we have to refocus on McNeese State.”
The Cal Poly Mustangs (4-0-0) come into the game scoring 15 goals in four matches. Sophomore forward Elise Krieghoff has scored 10 goals and tacked on an assist. Krieghoff is a dominant player taking 40 of the teams 80 shots. Senior midfielder Kacey Held leads the team with four assists.
The Mustangs defense has also been strong by posting three shutouts this season. Cal Poly has only allowed two goals, both on a road game against Bakersfield. The defense averages .50 goals scored per game while keeping opponents’ shot percentage to .43. Neither Baylor nor Cal Poly has conceded a goal in the first half. Cal Poly leads the series against Baylor after getting 1-0 win in 2003. It won’t be easy keeping up with Krieghoff, but Baylor knows what it needs to do to get a win.
“Marci prepares us well for the downtimes,” senior midfielder Kat Ludlow said. “For the times where there are going to be struggles where we will go into overtime, but we just practice those things during the week.”
Baylor hopes to counter that defense with committee scoring. Freshman midfielder Ashley York is second in the Big 12 with four goals and an assist. Junior forward Natalie Huggins has delivered in clutch moments for the Bears by scoring two game winners against the University of Washington and Missouri. Sophomore forward Bri Campos with leads the squad with three assists.
The Bears’ offense hopes to have success against the McNeese State Cowgirls (5-1-0) defense because they are prone to giving up goals. The Cowgirls have given up six shots on 56 shot attempts for a shot percentage of .107. McNeese State has posted two shutouts against Jackson State University and University of Louisiana at Monroe.
The Cowgirls have scored 21 goals on the 99 shots it has taken by emphasizing committee scoring similar to Baylor. For the Cowgirls, seven players have scored two or more goals. Junior midfielder Tori Lasiter has led the way with four goals and junior midfielder Haley Lyons and junior forward Jordan Beasley each have scored three goals. Senior midfielder Johna Germany and freshman midfielder Savannah LaRicci lead the team with two assists.
Baylor’s defense hopes to counter that potent offense with tenacious team defense. Senior defender Taylor Heatherly was named one of College Scorers 360’s Primetime Performers. Heatherly and the defense allowed 10 shots on goal against Missouri and Texas A&M on the road. Baylor has allowed one goal in 58 shot attempts. Baylor also leads the series 5-0-0, including a 5-0 victory on Sept. 2, 2012 in Waco.
The Bears have a program-record 27 game unbeaten streak, which is the longest streak in the nation. The second-longest streak is North Carolina’s 12-game unbeaten streak. Baylor is also the only Big 12 team without a tally in the loss column.
“It’s always nice to have the home field advantage,” junior goalkeeper Michelle Kloss said “It’s always nice to stay home and it is a lot of pressure off for this next month. We will get to be home, not have to worry about missing classes, not have to worry about the team’s field and the other team’s crowd. It’s just our fans and our own support system here.”