Ben Everett | Sports Writer
Baylor soccer’s match with Rice has been moved up to 6 p.m. tonight at Holloway Field in Houston as Hurricane Harvey is expected to bring torrential rains to the area.
The Bears (2-0-0) and Owls (1-1-0) were originally scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Friday before the coaches agreed to reschedule for safety reasons.
Baylor was scheduled to play Houston Baptist at 5 p.m. Sunday, but it was announced today that the match was cancelled and that both schools are working to reschedule, according to an official press release.
Baylor is coming off a perfect opening weekend that saw it defeat the University of Louisiana-Lafayette 5-0 and escape with a 2-1 overtime victory over Wyoming.
Bears head coach Paul Jobson said the main takeaway from the first two games is their ability to compete.
“We compete really well,” Jobson said. “We feel like we can play with anybody. I thought it was a good weekend.”
As the Bears navigate their way through the non-conference schedule, some opponents will be tougher than others. Portland and Washington, for instance, are perennially good teams, whereas Houston Baptist and the University of Texas-San Antonio have struggled in recent years.
Junior forward Jackie Crowther, who scored both goals in Baylor’s win over Wyoming on Sunday, said Jobson has done a great job establishing a team mindset no matter who the Bears play.
“One thing Paul [Jobson] instills into all of us is that it is important who we are playing,” Crowther said. “But it’s more important how we play and who we are as Baylor. No matter who we play, we could be playing the best team in the NCAA, we could be playing a smaller division team but it doesn’t matter because we want to be consistent.”
Rice, however, could present a challenge for the Bears.
The Owls are 35-16-6 in their last three seasons and gave Baylor a fight the last time the two teams met, losing 1-0 in overtime in Waco in 2014. The Bears lead the all-time series 5-0-2.
Jobson said this year’s Owls compete hard, making them a threat against bigger name programs.
“Rice is a super competitive team,” Jobson said. “They’re athletic, well coached, they’re fast. They compete really hard and they always have. They’re one of the better teams in the state of Texas and they compete really well against the Big 12 programs they play against.”
The Owls have only allowed one goal in 16 attempts in the first two games of the season, so Baylor’s offense will need to show up to come away with the win.
Preseason All-Big 12 junior midfielder Julie James leads the team in shots with 13 this season, but has yet to put one through the net. Meanwhile, junior defender Sarah King and Crowther each have two goals to lead the team.
Sophomore goalkeeper Hannah Parrish has played every minute in the goal for the Bears in the first two games after redshirting last season due to injury.
Parrish, who has recorded four saves on the season, said the team is excited to get on the road and face new challenges.
“I’m excited,” Parrish said. “I think it’ll be fun. The girls are excited because its our first away game so the energy is definitely positive.”
Following the Houston road trip, Baylor returns home to face UTSA at 7 p.m. Friday Sept. 1 at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field.