Soccer brings strong defense to Austin for final road matchup

Baylor soccer takes the field for its game against Kansas State on Oct. 22 at Betty Lou Mays Field. The Bears shut out the Wildcats 4-0. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

Baylor soccer will hit the road for the last time this season, as they take on Texas at 7 p.m. Friday in Austin.

The Bears are fresh off of a dominating 4-0 win over Kansas State last Thursday where Baylor had its best offensive performance of the season.

“We really needed a win like that under our belt,” sophomore midfielder Maddie Algya said. “To knock out someone 4-0 is huge in the Big 12. That doesn’t happen often.”

Baylor head coach Paul Jobson lauded the team’s preparation for the win, saying that it made a big difference in the game.

“Our girls were ready,” Jobson said. “I hope we continue to build on that each and every week.”

Texas is tied with Baylor in the Big 12 standings, boasting a 3-4 record with nine points. The Longhorns suffered a tough 2-0 loss at the hands of Oklahoma State last Friday. Texas is led by talented junior midfielder Julia Grosso, who was a Preseason All-Big 12 team selectee and plays international soccer for Canada.

Grosso, along with senior midfielder Haley Berg and freshman forward Presley Echols, led the Longhorns with two goals on the season.

“They’re a solid team,” Jobson said. “They’ve got two really, really good players and then a great supporting class around them. That makes them a quality team.”

Senior defender Sarah Norman agreed with Jobson, saying the Baylor defense is expecting the Longhorns to challenge them.

“They’re obviously really good,” Norman said. “They’re forwards are fast and good. I’m expecting them to be fast and well put together.”

Baylor’s defense has been elite this season and should be able to contain the potent Texas offense, which scored a Big 12 season-high seven goals against Kansas State in October.

The Bears, led by Norman and senior goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt, are tied for second in the nation with a .714 shutout percentage.

Baylor only has two games remaining in the season, against Texas and Oklahoma. Algya reflected on the team’s remarkable growth throughout the season, which was marred by COVID-19.

“Every game we’ve been building and getting way, way better,” Algya said. “We’re really growing together as a team.”

While the fall season may be coming to a close, the Bears still have a spring season to look forward to, when the NCAA tournament is scheduled to be played. Jobson said he and the team are focused on building towards the spring season and qualify for the tournament.

“We’re in really good form right now, we’re peaking in a lot of different ways,” Jobson said. “Hopefully we finish these last two matches on a high note so that we go into the break with some momentum and some encouragement to take some extra steps to be ready once spring rolls back around.”