By Jeffrey Swindoll
Following a convincing 1-0 overtime win over Rice and 2-0 decision over Houston Baptist, Baylor soccer travels to Utah this weekend for two games in three days against Utah Valley and Brigham Young.
“I like going on the road, personally,” Baylor co-head coach Marci Jobson said. “It’s a good time for your team to come together more and bond a little bit. This is going to be a really great weekend for us– two great teams and we’ve just got to be really focused and continue to do what we do well.”
The Lady Bears square off against the unfamiliar Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah in the first game of the weekend at 8 p.m. on Friday.
“Utah Valley is a little unorthodox in the how they play,” Jobson said. “They’re very fast and athletic. They probably have eight people involved in the attack and leave two people back maybe. So there’s a lot of defending on our end, but it’s also, if we have the legs, it leaves some space to counterattack.”
UVU likes to gamble by putting most of the team on the offensive end, flooding the opposition with organized chaos and maintaining pressure by pushing high. However, UVU leaves itself susceptible to conceding goals from a team that can take advantage of the few chances they may have.
Jobson said her team will have to be disciplined and willing to put in the work on defense. Patience and diligence could be the key for the Lady Bears against UVU .
“We’re going to have to defend really well, and when we win the ball we’re going to have to do a good job keeping it and going quickly at their goal.”
Baylor then travels to Provo, Utah (just a few miles south from Orem) to face the respected Brigham Young University at 2 p.m. on Monday.
“They’re going to show us some things that we need to continue to get better, and we’ll see areas that we’ll be strong at as well. It’s just going another good game for us.”
Jobson is experimenting with her roster recently. Freshman forward Precious Akanyirige joined the team this summer listed as a defender. Jobson saw Akanyirige as a forward though. It’s a big change for Akanyirige, and recently having to move up from high-school into college level competition makes it even more challenging to adjust.
“In club, I played forward a couple times, but this is completely new to me,” Akanyirige said. “It’s a completely new system. So, it’s been a process of adjusting, but the coaches are great and the team is great. I like playing forward, it’s fun so I’m just experiencing something new.”
Junior midfielder Bri Campos is crucial to Baylor’s play on both sides of the ball, but is still not fully recovered from her time with Mexico’s U-20 women’s national team. Recovery and recuperation comes with time and accumulating in-game minutes, Campos said.
“I think we’re pretty pumped about all the wins at home, but travelling is always pretty hard on the body,” Campos said “Mentally, for us, we just have to make sure we get recovered and take each day and each game at a time.”