After spending the last two weekends on the road, the Baylor soccer team returns home to host the University of Washington, who ranks just outside the Top 25, tonight and Jackson State on Sunday for Senior Day. These two matches are the final non-conference opponents for Baylor before they begin Big 12 play, and they couldn’t be more excited about doing it from home.
“There’s a lot of excitement being home,” said head coach Paul Jobson. “We’ve been gone the last two weekends. In the last 11 days, we’ve been home three. It’s great to be home; it’s great to be in Waco on the campus of Baylor University and playing at Betty Lou Mays. We’re excited to be here Friday night. It’s going to be a great soccer match.”
The Washington match will provide senior defender Lindsay Burns, a native of Yakima, Wash., the opportunity to reunite with and play against several of her former teammates who now play for the Huskies.
“I’ve played with a few of the girls back in club, so there are some familiar faces,” Burns said. “They’re always consistently good; they’re always a good game. We’re looking forward to it.”
Jobson is confident that after being shut out this past weekend, if Baylor continues to execute offensively and get good opportunities on goal, the shots will begin to find the back of the net again.
“The main thing we can’t do is freak out because we’re not scoring goals. We’re creating opportunities, and some of it is luck isn’t falling our way and sometimes we’re not executing,” Jobson said. “We know we can do it; we just can’t freak out, and know that if we keep pounding away, they’re going to start falling.”
The Washington Huskies enter the contest at 5-1-1 and are led offensively by redshirt junior forward Becca Schoales and junior forward midfielder Shannon Simon, who have both scored three goals this season. The Bears will have their work cut out for them, but Jobson is certain they’ll be ready for it.
“They’re a great team, and so they’re up for the challenge,” Jobson said. “They’re ready to play these types of teams. They’re ready for Friday night.”
Baylor and Washington played three years ago in Seattle, with Natalie Huggins scoring the lone goal of the game for Baylor as they shut out the Huskies 1-0. The Bears look to find their offensive traction again and hope for a similar result. The match will start at 7:00 p.m.
Baylor soccer will also take part in Senior Day at 5 p.m. Sunday as it hosts the Jackson State Tigers.
“Every year, you want to find an opportunity to honor your seniors and recognize the sacrifices that they’ve given over their career here, and being able to find the right game and the right time is important,” Jobson said. “It’s an important time to honor our seniors. It can become an emotional day, and we are trying to make sure it doesn’t become too emotional that we can’t play soccer.”
Burns knows how important it will be for her and the rest of the seniors to manage their emotions and stay focused on the task at hand.
“I think it will be a bit surreal. I can’t really imagine it right now,” Burns said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet, and I don’t think it will until the end of the season. I’m just really looking forward to the game.”
Jackson State is 0-5 heading into the match with Baylor. The match will begin at 5 pm immediately followed by a short postgame ceremony to honor the seniors.