By Adam Gibson | Sports Writer
Baylor soccer was given a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest-ever seed in postseason play, on Monday afternoon during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show.
The Bears, due to the high seeding, have the potential to host its first three matches, if not more, at Betty Lou Mays Field. Head coach Paul Jobson said the team has fought all season to get to this point and now that hard work is paying off.
“The girls have worked hard all year to get to this point where we were going into the Big 12 tournament for the first time in a long time, probably ever, not worrying about whether we are going to be in the NCAA Tournament,” Jobson said. “The girls have done a great job. Definitely deserve the two seed, excited to host here at Betty Lou [Mays Field].”
The opening round of the tournament for Baylor will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against Abilene Christian University. This is Baylor’s sixth NCAA bid and the fifth time it has been given the chance to host the opening round in Waco. With this being the highest seeding ever for the team – the previous record seeding was a No. 3 seed in 2012 – senior midfielder Julie James said it gives the team a good environment to compete in, especially since it has been a while since the Bears have competed at home.
“It’s really, really exciting. Especially just getting the two seed,” James said. “We get to be at Betty Lou [Mays Field] again, which is so much fun. We’ve been away for a week in Kansas City, so being able to bring it back home is going to be great. Getting in the tournament is just really exciting. It’s just a fun time, a new season and we can’t get complacent with just getting in, though. We’re excited to make another run and just take one game at a time and do our best.”
The Bears have the opportunity to host the first three matches with a win over ACU, then they would face the winner of Vanderbilt and Murray State the next weekend. After that, Baylor would host the winner of Virginia, Monmouth, Texas Tech or Princeton. If they are able to advance through all of those matches, the Bears will potentially play for a repeat trip to the Elite 8.