Soccer preps for No. 23 Butler

Baylor sophomore midfielder Ally Henderson drives past a defender against Arizona on Sunday. The Bears lost 3-1 and will look to bounce back when they host No. 23 Butler on Thursday night in Waco. Photo credit: Chris Hook

By Francesca Maietta | Reporter

Baylor soccer looks to bounce back on Thursday against No. 23 Butler after suffering a loss against No. 22 Arizona on Sunday.

With eight games under their belt, the Bears are now 5-3 in the season. Head coach Paul Jobson said he has seen so much from his team thus far.

“We’ve seen some highs and some lows,” Jobson said. “The great thing is the lows haven’t been too low. We learned a lot. We had a tough non-conference schedule and I think that was intentional to really kind of see where we’re at and I think we’ve done that. Coming off this weekend in Arizona, we really know who we are and who we want to be.”

Sophomore midfielder Emily Bunnell said there are no confidence issues within the team, but there are definitely some things they could improve on for next time.

“Arizona is a really good team. We can’t take that away from them, “ Bunnell said. “But just a few tweaks, I think, defensively — organizing and communicating; that’s on us and we need to take care of those things.”

Jobson admitted there are some tactics the girls need to sharpen to prepare them for the Big 12.

“These are really good teams, “ Jobson said. “These are the teams with the type of caliber we will be facing in the Big 12. There were moments in the Arizona game where we were a really good team, just not enough of them [those moments]. It’s got to be from minute one to minute 90.”

Senior defender/forward Ariel Leach said she’s noticed a lot of progression from the back line.

“I think we’re really starting to mesh in terms of learning each others’ styles and learning how to communicate with each other, and learning what our strengths and weaknesses are,” Leach said. “We’re half and half with new and old members so just having [senior defender Sarah King] in the back as a leader has been huge for us, and [forward Kayley Ables] as a freshman just embracing the new role she has on the team. I’ve been really encouraged by how hardworking the back line has been.”

Leach said that although Butler is ranked, it doesn’t change anything.

“We approach every game the same, if they’re ranked or not,” Leach said. “It’s not about the team. It’s about how we play, so we have to play our game. We know they’re a great team that we’re really going to have to be focused on and on our game to beat.”

The coach feels that this game is going to be better than they thought it would be now that Butler is ranked.

“Ranked or not, they are a good team,” Jobson said. “They compete hard; they play hard and they’ve got good players so we knew getting them on the schedule was going to be a good game.”

The Bears will take on Butler at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field.