By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
A global pandemic is enough to derail anyone’s senior season.
Toss in having to lead a team comprised of 14 freshmen, seven who play major minutes, and you have a situation that many would struggle to play in.
But Baylor senior goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt has done more than simply play. In what has been a bizarre 2020 season for women’s soccer, she’s thrived. The Brookfield, Wis., native has led the Bears to a stellar defensive record, only allowing two goals in four games this season, one of the best in the Big 12.
“We’re a defensive first type of team and that starts between the pipes,” Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said.
Individually, Wandt has been just as good, leading the Big 12 with three shutouts and 20 saves made on the season. She also recently broke the Baylor school record for most career shutouts with 28.
“I’m just really grateful,” Wandt said in reaction to breaking the record.
And while Wandt’s achievements are impressive, she refuses to take credit and remains focused on the only thing that matters — winning.
“It’s really just such a backline and team award,” Wandt said. “I’m just really grateful that I can help put my team in the position to come win.”
If Wandt has done anything during her time at Baylor, it’s win games.
During her freshman season, in which she replaced starting goalkeeper Hannah Parrish who was injured in her third game of 2017, Wandt excelled, helping Baylor reach the Elite Eight and earning All-Big 12 Freshman Goalkeeper honors in the process.
“I always say that if I had a Magic 8 ball or a crystal ball to know how kids are going to come in, it would be fantastic,” Jobson said in 2017. “So, I think we’re pleasantly surprised that she came in with a bit of a veteran mentality and was able to compete right away.”
Since earning the spot as a freshman, Wandt has been a regular between the posts for Baylor soccer, and her level of play has only risen. In the Baylor record books, Wandt is currently third in career saves with 219, third in career goalkeeper minutes with 626 minutes played and second in career wins with 39. When all is said and done, Wandt will have a strong case to be regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in Baylor history.
This season has only added to her legacy. Jobson said Wandt has been integral in integrating the freshman to the team and providing stability for the defense.
“If you’re solid in the goal, you’ve got a chance in every match,” Jobson said. “Jen has been good from day one. She’s a leader back there. She sets the tone back there. She has some really great expectations of herself and the team, and goals for herself and the team.”
Wandt has marshaled a defense this year that has taken on the motto “over my dead body” which emphasizes effort and heart.
“The coaches have been saying we need to have ‘over my dead body’ defense and 100% effort back there,” sophomore midfielder Maddie Algya said. “That is definitely what has happened.”
While this will technically be Wandt’s senior season, the NCAA has opened up the possibility for all players to have an additional year of eligibility due to COVID-19. But Wandt said she is just focused on this season and what she can control.
“We’ve talked about it as a senior class but really we’re just focusing on the here and now,” Wandt said. “We know just with anything, injuries and life, nothing is guaranteed.”