By Ben Everett | Sports Editor
No. 14-ranked Baylor soccer hosts Kansas State and Kansas this weekend in its final full weekend of the regular season.
Baylor is coming off a 1-0 win over Oklahoma State on Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field. The Bears’ lone goal came off a header from junior forward Camryn Wendlandt in the 24th minute. Wendlandt said beating a physical Oklahoma State team is rewarding, especially since the team knows they finish out the season at home.
“This win definitely carries momentum because we know we have three more matches at home for the rest of the season,” Wendlandt said. “This is going to be really good for us because we know that Oklahoma State is a hard opponent and we really grinded it out.”
The Bears (12-4, 5-1) begin the weekend with a 7 p.m. matchup against Kansas State Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field. The Wildcats (4-9-2, 0-6) are in their second year of Big 12 Conference play after playing their inaugural season in 2016. Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said the Wildcats, while new and unproven, have the talent to win in the Big 12.
“They’ve done a good job,” Jobson said. “They’ve recruited well. They’ve got some good players. The results haven’t gone their way, but they’ve been in every match. They’re coming into our match Friday night without a Big 12 victory, but they’re a team that can win in this conference and you don’t want to be the one that they get.”
The Wildcats are led on offense by junior forward Katie Cramer and sophomore midfielder Brookelynn Entz, who have seven and six points on the season, respectively. Cramer has a team-high three assists to go along with two goals while Entz has two goals and two assists on the season. The Wildcats are led on defense by sophomore goalkeeper Emma Malsy, who has 76 saves and leads the team with 1,369 minutes played.
The Bears turn around to face Kansas at 2 p.m. Sunday at Betty Lou Mays Field. The Jayhawks (10-3-2, 4-2) are coming off back-to-back overtime games. Kansas defeated TCU 2-1 on Friday before losing to Texas Tech 2-1 on Sunday. Jobson said the Jayhawks always present different challenges for the Bears.
“Kansas is a great team,” Jobson said. “They’re always a contender in the league and in the country. Very well coached. Over the years we’ve had some difficulties with them. We were fortunate to beat them on the road last year. Quality players and a quality team, so they’re going to be a tough opponent on Sunday.”
Kansas junior forward Katie McClure is second in the Big 12 with seven goals on the season to along with three assists. Senior forward Grace Hagan is close behind with six goals and two assists.
Baylor is undefeated at home this season, outscoring opponents 20-1 on Betty Lou Mays Field. Jobson said the Bears’ defense has been exceptional on their home turf.
“We value defense,” Jobson said. “We’ve obviously been better defensively at home than on the road. There’s definitely a home field advantage, and that’s something that we’ve looked forward to here as we finish the regular season at home.”
With a 70 percent chance of rain on Friday, according to the Weather Channel, the Bears will be in familiar territory. Jobson said the team has encountered rain plenty of times this season, so the weather should not be a factor.
“We’ve had some opportunities this year to play in the rain,” Jobson said. “I think every road game we’ve had there’s been [bad] weather. It’s something we’re used to. We just have to be ready to compete, and that’s got to be the number one thing right now.”