By Daniel Wallace
The Longhorns and the Wildcats are the matchups the Bears will be granted this weekend. Baylor soccer (7-2-1) will continue Big 12 play on the road when it faces the University of Texas Longhorns (6-2) at 7 p.m. today in Austin. Then they will travel back up I-35 to play host to the Weber State Wildcats (2-6) at 1 p.m. Sunday on Betty Lou Mays Field.
The Bears were originally scheduled to play the Texas A&M Aggies and Texas Longhorns on the same weekend, both on the road, head coach Marci Jobson said. Instead, there will be a week in between play of the two Big 12 schools. The Bears lost to Texas A&M on Sept. 16 but are using that as fuel for their match against Texas.
“The end result of A&M made us more ready for Texas,” sophomore forward Vic Hoffman said. “The end result is prompting us to show we can win games.”
Jobson said the keys to beating Texas will be to keep their field compact and organize pressure against them. She stressed the importance of aggressive, physical defense.
“They are probably one of the most possession-oriented teams that we play, meaning they like to pass and pass and pass,” she said. “They don’t want to have to play too many long balls. It’s very crucial for us to disrupt their pressure.”
Hoffman spoke of the importance of representing Baylor in the Big 12, specifically because of the conference realignment fiasco.
“We definitely want to go in there and make an impact on the Big 12, partly because who knows when we will play them again with everything going on,” she said. “They are a really good team with really skillful players.”
Sunday’s game for the Bears is a non-conference game, but sophomore midfielder Karlee Summey stressed the importance of treating every game the same, no matter who the opponent may be.
“The game that we face that day is the most important game at that time,” she said. “For championship teams, those games are just as important as the other ones. In order to win, you have to learn to win those too.”
Jobson and the players agreed that they don’t want a repeat of last weekend. They were not talking about the heartbreaking loss to the Aggies but rather, their play on Sunday against Utah Valley. Although the Bears won that game, the players and coach all agreed that the team came out flat and unenergetic. That is something they will try to avoid this weekend.
“If we don’t play with energy and emotion, we can lose to any team,” she said. “Sunday (vs. Utah Valley) we came out and we were just awful first half. I was [upset]. I was not happy at halftime. That’s the most I’ve ever flipped as a coach. I said things I didn’t know could come out of my mouth.”
The Bears will be the first Big 12 team Texas, who is 5-0 at home, faces this season. Weber State is a member of the Big Sky Conference and has beaten Utah Valley and New Mexico State this season. The Bears will look to remain undefeated at home against the Wildcats.
In the first 10 games of the season, the Bears have outscored their opponents 21-7. The team has also dominated the amount of shots taken per game, averaging 17.7 shots per 90 minutes as compared to their opponent’s 8.8. Senior goalkeeper Courtney Seelhorst has boasted an .811 save percentage, including 30 saves and five shutouts.
Baylor’s upcoming conference schedule starts with a home game versus Texas Tech, followed by a trip to Lawrence to play the Kansas Jayhawks and an away game against Iowa State. Soccer returns home Oct. 14 against Mizzou.