By Ahfaaz Merchant | Sports Writer
No. 21 Baylor soccer is taking their first road trip of the season after a 4-2 win over Northwestern State this past Sunday in the home opener. The four goals scored by the Bears against NSU were the most made since the six goal victory over Nebraska on Sept. 2, 2018.
Although Baylor took the win over the Demons, the Bears have several things they need to improve upon, according to head coach Paul Jobson.
“Consistency and working on the team chemistry on the field,” Jobson said. “The team chemistry off the field is great, but on the field, we’ve got a lot of new players and players in new positions.”
There are several new faces on the field this season, including freshman midfielder Michaela Gorman who scored her first Baylor goal in the victory against NSU on Sunday.
Several other Bears made their debut this past weekend- junior transfer Eva Mitchell, along with freshman defender Tara Sumer, freshman forward Elizabeth Kooiman, freshman goalkeeper Maya Bellomo and freshman defender/midfielder Marissa Gray.
“Anytime a freshman can step on the field and make an impact is pretty impressive,” Jobson said. “It’s a tough thing. I think people don’t realize how tough it is to transition from club and high school soccer into college. To step on the field right away, some being starters and some playing a lot of minutes as freshmen, they’re really thrown into the fire”.
The team’s road trip will last 11 days with the first stop being in Des Moines, Iowa to face off against Drake University on Friday. Drake is 0-2 to begin its season with losses to Colorado and Denver over the weekend. Friday will be the Bulldog’s home opener.
Senior forward/defender Halee Sowinski said that the time away will be an opportunity for the team to build their bond, especially with such a small roster.
“I’m just really excited about the 10 days that we get to spend together. I think that helps team chemistry a ton,” Sowinski said.“We’ve been together a lot during preseason so far. But just being on the road away from everybody else helps us really just bring together the core unit of who we are and what we do.”
After facing off against Drake, the team will head west to face Nebraska on Monday. The Huskies opened their season with a 4-0 loss against Kansas on Aug. 22.
The Bears will then take on Wyoming on Sept. 6 before finishing off their two-week trip with a match against Colorado on Sept. 8.
“We’re playing at altitude that we’re not used to the second weekend,” Jobson said. “We’ve played Wyoming once, but it’s kind of an unfamiliar foe.”
While the Bears feel ready to take on their next four opponents, they will also have the opportunity to visit the Manitou Incline and Garden of the Gods during their time in Colorado.
The game against the Drake Bulldogs is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines, Iowa.