Soccer preps for second round of NCAA Tournament

Baylor freshman midfielder Giuliana Cunningham gets in front of an Oklahoma player on Oct. 25 at Betty Lou Mays Field. The Bears face Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field. Jason Pedreros | Multimedia Journalist

By Francesca Maietta | Reporter

No. 2-seeded Baylor soccer hosts Vanderbilt in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m. Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field.

The Bears defeated Abilene Christian 2-0 in the first round on Saturday at Betty Lou Mays Field. Head coach Paul Jobson says the Commodores are a step up in the competition.

“They’re a really good team,” said Jobson. “They’re SEC regular season champions. They got their conference and freshman of the year. They’re more of a tactical team. They’re good at moving the ball. They’re very intentional with what they’re trying to do with the ball. Pretty good soccer players overall. They’re very opportunistic in front of the goal and they find ways to score. Sometimes not the most beautiful goals, but they all count.”

Jobson said he is also looking forward to his team playing at home in their comfort zone.

“Because we’ve had so much success here [at home] it’s obvious to kind of look at that and say, ‘Wow, we haven’t lost here all year,’” Jobson said. “Obviously that doesn’t guarantee a victory so the girls have to do the work, but I think because we did travel so much this year, just the appreciation of being at home in front of our fans and sleeping in our own beds and eating our own food is something that they really value and have taken advantage of.”

Freshman forward Kayley Ables said she is eager to play on their home turf this weekend.

“It’s very exciting,” Ables said. “We’re comfortable where we’re at right now but we’re not too comfortable to get into a routine. So right now we’re just trying to work as hard as we can, train harder than we normally would and just kill it on Friday. We always try to do our best, but certain games just don’t always go our way. But, we can’t get mad over the things we can’t control so this is something we can control, we’re in our home environment so we’re taking advantage of it.”

If the Bears win, they will face the winner of Texas Tech and Virginia at 3 p.m. Sunday at Betty Lou Mays Field.