By Daniel Wallace
For the first time this season, Baylor soccer will play two Big 12 games in one weekend. The Bears play Kansas (8-5) at 4 p.m. today in Lawrence, Kan., and then square off against Iowa State at 5 p.m. Sunday in Ames, Iowa. These will be the last two road games of the season for the Bears, as their final four games are at home.
The Bears (9-2-2) are coming off a 0-0 double overtime time against the Texas Tech Red Raiders last Friday. Normally the team plays two games per weekend but did not have a Sunday game last weekend. The team was able to rest and recover from the Tech game and feels more prepared for this weekend’s match-ups because of the extra rest, players said.
“We used (Sunday) as a recovery day,” sophomore forward Vic Hoffman said. “I think a lot of the girls on the team would have rather played a game just because it’s fun to play those games. But since we’re about to go into a double Big 12 weekend, I think it’s good we got that rest in. It was basically just rolling out in ice baths (on Sunday).”
Head coach Marci Jobson said the break was good for the team and came at a time in the season when it was greatly needed. Hoffman said the rest allowed for some harder practices this week, but overall she believes it will be beneficial for the team this weekend with the heightened competition facing two Big 12 teams.
Junior forward Dana Larsen said focus is the key to coming back to Waco with two victories this weekend. She said the team will need to focus more on themselves and what they can do to improve than their opponents’ strategy.
“With our style, we just want to go in and disrupt and try to do our thing and focus on us more,” she said.
Larsen said the situation the team needs to improve on the most is finishing in the final third of the game. Jobson said the team needs to stay sharp in its execution and that it’s not the time in the season to be implementing any new strategies.
She said the worst thing the team can do is to focus on the projections and rankings of the Big 12 and become distracted by that. She believes the best way for the team to improve is to only worry about the task at hand.
“We’re in the home stretch now,” she said. “It’s all about just taking each game one at a time, going for it as hard as you can, and not getting caught up with all the calculations and just doing what you do each game the best you can and seeing where the chips fall.”
Hoffman recalled last year’s game at Kansas as an extra physical game where team members from both sides got a little scrappy. She said she believes it will be the same type of game today and that it will be a very similar game to the Texas Tech game.
Jobson said Iowa State (6-5-1) could win a game on pure will, as her team found out in a devastating loss last season.
“Iowa State brings a team that beat us last year on pure heart and will,” she said. “That was one of my most disappointing losses of the season last year because we got out-hearted and I don’t like that. We got out-worked and out- fought.”
Larsen and Hoffman said they expect some bad blood in Sunday’s game against Iowa State and are looking for some sweet revenge after last year’s 1-0 loss.
After this weekend’s competition, the Bears will return home to take on Missouri at 7 p.m. Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field.