Big 12 soccer: Teams jockeying for tourney positioning

By Jeffrey Swindoll
Sports Writer

West Virginia (13-2-2, 6-0-1)

Unstoppable at the moment, and nearly for the entire season, the Mountaineers stand firmly atop the rest of the conference with an undefeated record and the No. 1 seed locked up for the Big 12 tournament next week. The Mountaineers have now won the regular season title of the Big 12 in all three years of their tenure in the conference, which started in 2012. West Virginia hosts a struggling Baylor team in Morgantown, W.Va. on at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Kansas (15-3-0, 5-2-0)

Scraping at the heels of West Virginia, the Jayhawks have had a historic season in their program’s history. Forward Liana Salazar has been an outstanding threat for the Jayhawks all season and proved to be a hassle to defend for 90 minutes. The Jayhawks are the favorites to take the No. 2 seed for the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Kan. next week. The regular season finale for the Jayhawks kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.

Texas Tech (14-3-1, 4-3-1)

The Red Raiders were a bit flustered in their first four matches, losing three and drawing once, but have since gone on a four-game winning streak in conference and are tied for third with Oklahoma State. Texas Tech has already played all its Big 12 games, therefore, if Oklahoma State wins this weekend at Texas, the Red Raiders fall to fourth in the standings.

Oklahoma State (9-8-1, 4-2-1)

Much like Texas Tech, the Cowgirls have turned their early slump around in the latter portion of conference play. Oklahoma State has nine wins and a draw in its last 12 matches. The Cowgirls could finish the regular season as high as the No. 2 seed for the Big 12 tournament with a win over Texas at 7 p.m. this Friday.

Texas (10-6-2, 4-3-0)

The Longhorns looked to be one of the weaker sides in the Big 12, opening conference play with three losses in five matches. Texas cranked out three wins in-a-row in their past three matches, including a dramatic 2-1 victory over Baylor with a 90th minute goal in Waco. Depending on the results from the matches this Friday, the Longhorns could finish anywhere between second and fifth in the conference standings. Texas hosts Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. on Friday in Austin.

Baylor (8-7-2, 2-4-1)

The Bears are on a two-game losing streak, entering their final match of the season against the top-ranked West Virginia. Baylor and Oklahoma are tied for sixth place in the conference ahead of the final regular season weekend of fixtures. Both play matches this weekend that will determine their final seeding in the Big 12 tournament. Because Baylor beat Oklahoma 2-1 earlier in the season, the Bears will be given the higher seed over Oklahoma due to the head-to-head tiebreaker rule if they both finish tied in the conference standings.

Oklahoma (8-7-3, 2-4-1)

The Sooners’ season is nearly identical to the way the Bears’ season has played out. The two have the exact same conference record and similar outcomes in each of their matches this season – inconsistent in scoring, but overall a solid defensive team that doesn’t concede many goals. The Sooners host Kansas, the conference’s current No. 2, at 7 p.m. on Friday in Norman, Okla.

TCU (8-6-3, 1-3-3)

Their record is deceiving. The Horned Frogs competed well in just about every conference match they were in, but couldn’t seem to find the goals to win games this season. TCU finishes the season against the winless Iowa State Cyclones at 7 p.m. on Friday in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State (6-11-0, 0-7-0)

At this point, not much else can be said about the Cyclones. Their winless record and severe lack of scoring have disqualified them as the odd-team-out for Big 12 tournament next week. Being ninth-best in the qualification for an eight-team tournament will not cut it. The Cyclones will be put out of their misery in their final game of the season at 7 p.m. this Friday against TCU.