By Daniel Wallace
Baylor soccer looks to keep its undefeated streak alive this weekend as it travels to Kentucky for two games. Baylor (3-0-1) will face Louisville (1-1-1) tonight and Kentucky (3-0-0) on Sunday. Both games will be played at Cardinal Park in Louisville, Ky. Coach Marci Jobson said this will be her team’s biggest test of the season so far, as it will have to face a speedy Louisville squad and a Kentucky team that has not lost as well.
“Louisville is a great team,” Jobson said. “They are very fast and athletic. We have to be able to defend a very direct, athletic and fast team so we are working on that. Kentucky is an SEC team, so this will be our toughest weekend so far with two great teams on the road so I think it’s a good challenge for us.”
For the second time in three years, the Bears are undefeated entering their fifth game. For the second consecutive season, they have three wins in the first four games. The Bears will look to match last weekend’s success when they swept Cal State Northridge and UTSA with 1-0 and 5-1 wins, respectively.
Freshman midfielder Alexa Wilde said that momentum plays a huge part in soccer games and is ecstatic to see that momentum carry into the games this weekend.
“I’m really excited,” Wilde said. “I think the last game was like a confidence booster for us. Not that we weren’t confident. It is carrying momentum into Louisville.”
Wilde and junior Dana Larsen, who each have netted three goals this season, will lead Baylor into competition against the Cardinals and Wildcats. Freshman Justine Hovden and sophomore Karlee Summey have been efficient this season as well, with a goal and two assists each to their credit.
Senior goalkeeper Courtney Seelhorst has been dominant already this season with two shutouts and an impressive .47 goals against average. In four games, she has 15 saves and only two goals scored against, for a save percentage of .882.
Junior defender Carlie Davis says although traveling brings different challenges, the team mentality is the same as it would be if the games were in Waco. She also stressed the importance of taking it one game at a time and making sure each individual player is prepared mentally.
“We have to be extra focused when traveling because that takes a toll on your body, but the same two keys that we always keep in mind when we are home are attitude and effort,” Davis said. “If we bring that to every game, we can play with anybody, we can compete with anybody, and we can beat anybody.”
Wilde attributes the team’s early success to the way team members interacts with each other on and off the field. The team has been able to find camaraderie and feed off each member’s energy.
“People are starting to become more comfortable with each other,” Wilde said. “Our team is finding chemistry and we are gelling together more and more as the season goes on. I’m excited for us to get some really good games in this weekend.”
Louisville opened the season with a 5-0 victory at Eastern Kentucky and most recently fell to no. 19 Illinois. In their middle game, the Cardinals tied Toledo. Kentucky has also beaten Eastern Kentucky this season, along with Oakland and Ohio. The Wildcats are 3-0-0 for the second straight season.
This weekend’s competition will mark the first time in program history Baylor will square off against Louisville or Kentucky.
After the tournament, Baylor has two home games in a row. Friday the Bears play Texas State at 7 p.m., and then Sunday they play North Texas at 3 p.m.