By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
As the Big 12 soccer season begins to wind down, Baylor soccer will return to Betty Lou Mays Field to face Kansas State in search of their second win this season.
Last week, the Bears ran into one of the hottest teams in the Big 12, losing 2-1 to West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va.
Freshman forward Mackenzie Anthony said she thinks the tough game against the Mountaineers will drive Baylor to play better against the Wildcats.
“West Virginia was, I thought, the hardest team we’ve had to play,” Anthony said. “So, coming into tomorrow’s match I think we’re going to come out with that hard work that we had to use at West Virginia.”
Kansas State has struggled this season, sitting at 1-4, sitting at eighth in the Big 12 standings. The Wildcats have struggled on offense and have yet to record a goal through four matches. However, K-State came alive in their most recent match, gaining a decisive 3-0 victory over Oklahoma in Manhattan, Kan.
Baylor head coach Paul Jobson said he was glad that Kansas State was able to win, as it woke the team up to the danger that the Wildcats could pose.
“What you worry about with a team that hasn’t had some success is when are they going to peak? When are they going to hit their stride?” Jobson said. “Them coming off a win last week shows that they can win in this league and that they are a good team. They do have quality players and we need to be ready for that.”
Sophomore forward Elizabeth Kooiman returned to action last week and made an immediate impact, scoring Baylor’s only goal against West Virginia. Anthony said the team is excited to have her back and her return bodes well for Baylor’s offense against K-State.
“It was really nice getting Liz back, especially since she came off the bench out-dribbling everyone with that fire that we definitely missed the two games before,” Anthony said.
The Bears face the shortest turnaround they’ve had all season, playing on Thursday instead of Friday. Jobson said he liked the quick turnaround because it will prepare his young squad for next season.
“I like challenging our kids,” Jobson said. “When we get back to playing two games in a weekend, we need to be ready for quick turnarounds.”
Baylor is now in the backend of their schedule, with only three games remaining this fall. Freshman midfielder Gabby Mueller reflected on the growth that the team has exhibited throughout the season.
“Personally, I think we have grown a lot, and in each game, we’ve learned something different,” Mueller said. “Every game we’re getting a little bit better in each area and it’s soon going to all come together.”
The Bears will take on the Wildcats at 7 p.m. at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field in Waco. The game will be televised on ESPN+.