By Greg DeVries
The No. 20 Baylor women’s soccer team will take on I-35 rival the University of Texas Longhorns at 7 p.m. Friday at home. The Bears are 11-1-4 on the season with a 2-0-3 conference record, but will look for their first home conference win since September 28.
The Longhorns struggled early in the season starting just 3-6. Since then,
Texas has recovered to reach 7-7-1. In Big 12 play however, the Longhorns are 4-1-0 which places them ahead of Baylor by three points.
“It is an in-state rivalry,” senior midfielder Hanna Gilmore said. “It’s Texas. Everybody gets up against Texas. We’re ready. They’re standing in our way right now and that’s who we’re going after.”
When the teams met last season in Austin, senior forward Dana Larsen dug deep and scored a goal in the 88th minute that put the Bears over the top 1-0.
“That was right at the end,” Larsen said. “That was a great effort by three or four people right before I touched it into the back of the net. It was a great team resolve that whole game just pounding away and believing that one would come eventually.”
Baylor is coming off of a road trip in which it tied two conference opponents in West Virginia and Oklahoma State.
Larsen came up big in the clutch in Morgantown, W.V. when she placed a free kick into the back of the net with under a minute to play to tie the game 1-1.
Following that big finish, the team tied the Oklahoma State Cowgirls 0-0 despite outshooting their opponents in regulation 19-4 and 25-6 by the end of the game.
“Oklahoma State had a unreal goalkeeper. She played outstanding,” head coach Marci Jobson said. “That’s soccer. You hope there’s chances because that makes for an exciting. Good goal scorers are going to take some chances before they score. You don’t just usually get one or two chances and finish it…You need to create chances and you need to finish them.”
Baylor’s defense has been strong all year.
The Bears lead the Big 12 in most defensive categories, and they are going to have to keep the pressure high if they want to beat Texas.
The Longhorns have three players with at least four goals on the year, which means a shot can come from multiple positions on the field.
Texas has scored 20 goals on the year and given up 19.
Baylor, on the other hand, has scored 38 goals this season and given up just eight.
The Bears lead the Big 12 in both categories.
Another factor that will help Baylor on Friday is the home field advantage.
In their six home games this year, the Bears are 6-0 and have outscored opponents 20-1 in those games.
“I is awesome to be home and to sleep in your own bed,” Gilmore said. “It just gives you that little bit extra pump up. I don’t think its going to make anybody play better, but it might be that one extra-hard tackle that gets people going…It’s fun for people to come and play us and know that they might get heckled a little bit on the sideline.”