The Baylor women’s soccer team will take on Kansas at 7 p.m. Friday in Waco.
The Jayhawks, like the Bears, recently dropped out of the top 25 on NCAA.com, so the competition should be stiff.
The Jayhawks are a very possession-oriented team.
They focus on passing the ball around and being patient until an opportunity presents itself.
“They’ve got some very technical players,” assistant coach Paul Jobson said. “The ball is going to stay on the ground a lot. They’ve got some great kids that can do some great stuff with it. [They have] some quick, talented players.”
The Bears are just the opposite. Baylor likes to push the issue and be aggressive.
How these styles will collide is still up in the air.
“Obviously our style is going to maybe disrupt what they try to do a little bit,” Jobson said. “They’re going to have to find a different way to move the ball. Hopefully it’s a challenge for them. They have some very fast players, and we’re going to have to make sure our athleticism and our speed are up to par to match them on Friday.”
Junior defender Selby Polley, a native of Wichita, Kan., knows many of the Jayhawk players from her days in youth and club soccer.
“They’re very creative, good players, and they have a lot of pace up top,” Polley said. “We will definitely have to shut them down, but I think we’re very capable of doing that… I don’t think they have faced a team that man-marks because not many teams do. We plan to disrupt them.”
Kansas is 7-2-1 on the year, but all 10 of their games have been played at home in Lawrence, Kan.
It has notched victories over good teams, including a 2-1 win over No. 17 Oklahoma State.
“We know they’re a good team, but that’s pretty standard in this conference,” senior defender Carlie Davis said. “Everybody is a good team and every game is a tough game…We know Kansas is a good team. We know they’re going to come out to beat us. But we think that if we bring the same attitude and effort that we bring to every weekend then we can hold our own just fine.”
Baylor is coming off of a tie and a win against Oklahoma and Stephen F. Austin respectively.
A tie might not be an ideal result, but in the Big 12, any points that come on the road are welcome.
“You always want to win at home. It’s just so hard to win on the road in the Big 12,” Jobson said. “When you’re able to go on the road and you’re able to get a draw, that’s a good result on the road. Yeah, you want to win them all, but you’ve got to get the ones at home.”
The team responded well after the tie in Norman, Okla.
The Bears came back home and beat the Ladyjacks in convincing fashion.
“I was really proud of how we responded on Sunday with a good 4-0 win against a really good team,” Davis said. “It was good to see how resilient our team was and [how we were] able to bounce back from a tough time on Friday night.”
Jayhawk junior forward Caroline Castor leads Kansas in scoring with seven goals, but she isnt the only offensive threat that the Jayhawks possess.
Jayhawk freshman forward Ashley Williams is second on the team in scoring with six goals, and senior midfielder Whitney Berry has recorded four goals and four assists this season.
But Baylor can put the ball in the back of the net as well.
The Bears have 14 players that have recorded at least one goal this season. They are led by senior forward Dana Larsen, who has seven goals on the season.
Home field advantage has been important this season for Baylor.
Baylor is undefeated at home, sporting five wins so far this season. The Bears have outscored their opponents 19-1 at Betty Lou Mays Field in the five matches.
The shot discrepancy is a result of Baylor’s aggressive style.
The Bears have taken 277 shots in their 12 games and have held their opponents to just 61.
As a team, the Jayhawks are averaging five fewer shots per game than the Bears, and they are giving up over four more shots per game than Baylor is.