By Greg DeVries
Soccer can be relentless sometimes. A team can outplay its opponent all game, but one goal can change things dramatically. Such is the way it went for the No. 11 Baylor women’s soccer team against the No.13 University of North Carolina on Nov. 18 in the Sweet Sixteen.
Baylor jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but UNC was able to tie it up late in regulation, and take the win in penalty kicks.
The Bears fell to UNC last year by a score of 5-0, but if there is such thing as a dominant program in sports, it is Tar Heel women’s soccer. UNC has won 20 of 22 ACC Championships, and 20 of 28 National Championships.
But this shouldn’t detract from the season Baylor had.
The Bears finished the season with a regular season record of 19-1-5, the best record in Baylor soccer history.
“We played 25 games this year and I have absolutely no regrets about any of
them,” head coach Marci Jobson said. “I can look back as a coach and say we fought the good fight in every single game we played. We had a great year.”
Baylor also finished with a perfect record at home of 9-0-0, and the team outscored its opponents by an average of 1.76 goals per game.
It was this strong combination of offense and defense that helped the Bears win their first Big 12 Championship since 1998.
Baylor entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed, but the Bears outscored their opponents 9-2 over the tournament’s three games to convincingly take home the Big 12 Championship.
With the end of the season comes the end of the seniors’ careers.
This senior class is responsible for much of the program’s growth, however.
It was only four years ago that Baylor soccer won eight games.
Senior forwards Lisa Sliwinski and Dana Larsen finished their careers fourth and fifth all-time on Baylor’s scoring list with 30 and 29 goals respectively.
Senior forward Hanna Gilmore is right behind them.
She has finished in the top three in scoring on Baylor’s team each of her four years.
Senior defender Carlie Davis has been an instrumental part of a Baylor defense that has never allowed more than .82 goals per game during her tenure.
Baylor has a talented group of underclassmen ready to step up next season.
Most of Baylor’s defense remains intact with juniors Kat Ludlow, Selby Polley and Taylor Heatherly returning.
The current freshman class has a lot of talent and received a good amount of playing time to help rest the starters throughout the season.
The freshman class is led by forward Bri Campos, who recorded three goals and four assists in her first year.
There will be a lot of offense to replace next season, but the combination of Campos, junior forward Alex Klein, and the rest of the Bears will be ready.
Baylor had 17 players score goals during the season, but only four goal-scorers were seniors.
A lot of the program’s growth has to do with Jobson’s impact on the program.
In 2006, the season before Jobson took over, the Bears finished just 3-7 in conference play and only managed one win away from their home field.
Baylor has not had a losing season in the past four seasons, and the team looks like it is ready for a period of sustained success.
Under Jobson, the team is 58-28-17, a far cry from the years of being in the conference basement.