By Jeffrey Swindoll
Baylor soccer opened its Big 12 schedule with two games last weekend. The Bears will only have one game this weekend when they face TCU on Friday.
“From a coaching standpoint, it’s great to have one team to focus on,” Baylor co-head coach Paul Jobson said. “When you’re going into a weekend with two games, you kind of have to scout two games at a time. This week, as a staff, we can really focus in on one team.”
The Bears are riding momentum from their dominant 2-0 win over Iowa State on Sunday. The loss against Kansas gave the Bears some lessons to learn from, but the effort and teamwork could not have been better over the weekend, Jobson said. That gives the Bears a boost of confidence, heading into their only one-game weekend of the season.
“Everybody’s connecting pretty well,” senior forward Justine Hovden said. We’ve been able to get some numbers forward, and get the ball down the wing and cross which is what we always try to do. We have a lot of people who can finish and a lot of different goal scorers this season. They have to mark everyone, there’s not just one person they have to single out. That helps everybody get a little bit of space.”
TCU had a bumpy opening in the Big 12 last week. After a surprising 0-0 draw with the defending conference champion West Virginia, the Horned Frogs had high hopes for their match against Kansas on Sunday. The Jayhawks were too much for the Horned Frogs. KU beat TCU 2-0 on Sunday, putting things into perspective for the Horned Frogs.
“Every game is important, so we’ll approach this game kind of like we do every other game,” senior forward Natalie Huggins said. “We’ll prepare the same way and go from there.”
West Virginia and Kansas are without a doubt the conference’s two juggernauts right now; it was an accomplishment for TCU to keep WVU scoreless in the 0-0 draw. WVU outshot TCU 29-6.
The Horned Frogs only cranked out two shots on goal in the entire match, which extended longer than most matches thanks to the two overtime periods. Strangely enough, the 2-0 loss against Kansas, the match that the Horned Frogs lost, was much closer when comparing the total shots and shots on goal in the West Virginia match.
“I think they’ll be able to go both ways like most teams. They definitely will be strong in the defense, but we have to be ready for their attack,” Huggins said.
The Bears have only lost one game at home this season and have only conceded a goal once at Betty Lou Mays Field. Baylor has outscored the opposition 15-1 at home in 2014.
Baylor has an offense firing on all cylinders after the Iowa State match. The Bears are involving all players in the attack and incorporating a healthy rotation of second string players into the lineup. Across the board, a sentiment of unity and selflessness is part of the team’s chemistry and overall strength, Jobson said.
Baylor plays TCU at 7 p.m. Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field.