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Preview: Baylor soccer heads north for battle with Mean Green

September 1, 2021
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The green and gold visit the University of North Texas for their fifth non-conference game Thursday night. This is the first leg of their last road trip before Big 12 play begins in late September.

The Mean Green were picked to finish second in the west division of Conference USA and even received votes in the national preseason poll.

The Bears will not be looking past North Texas and their high-powered offense after their struggles to put the ball in the back of the net so far this year.

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Gabby Mueller attempts a pass against SMU

Baylor has scored 1.75 goals per game this year on 14.5 shots per game. 46.6% of those shots were on goal, but the attack has felt disconnected at times. 

They are trying to create closer range shots, but if something doesn’t click tomorrow, they may leave Denton with another loss. 

North Texas’ offense is strong with averages of 3.25 goals per game ono 23.5 shots per game. They put 53.2% of their shots on goal, and this is just a continuation of what they did last year. In 2020 they led the nation with 25.5 shots per game. 

The Mean Green’s competition has not been much to write home about, defeating Southern 7-0, Houston Baptist 2-0, and Idaho State 4-1. They drew with Hawaii 0-0, but the travel to the island state and the late kickoff time might have played a role.

North Texas’ players to watch include preseason all C-USA team members Allie Byrd (#12) and Brooke Lampe (#23).

Byrd, a junior forward, led her conference in shots per game (4.0) and shots on goal per game (1.9) in 2020. Those figures were good for 19th and 36th nationally.

Lampe might be more important to her team though. The fifth-year senior defender is a team captain and has played almost every position for the Mean Green in her career, including some time at goalkeeper apparently.

UNT Athletics
Taylor Tufts chases the ball down for UNT

Other attacking options for North Texas include redshirt sophomore Taylor Tufts (#4) and junior Madi Drenowatz (#5). Tufts has scored twice this year, is averaging 3.75 shots per game and has a nation-leading 6 assists. Meanwhile, Drenowatz has netted four goals with the same average shots per game. 

With all this fire-power bearing down on them, the Baylor defense might struggle. Goalie Jennifer Wandt should see a good bit of action and is likely not to preserve a clean sheet, despite her good form.

How healthy Baylor is could prove to be a deciding factor. If Chloe Japic and Maddie Algya are available from the start, then the Bears’ defense will be tougher to break down.

While it is unknown why Taylor Moon did not return to the second half of the SMU game, if she is available, that will help the green and gold at the other end of the field.

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Head Coach Paul Jobson and Assistant Coach Chuck Codd discuss tactics heading into halftime against SMU.

This team has been banged up and it would not surprise me if coach Jobson played it safe with these injuries. Conference play is more important.

The Bottom Line: UNT is a good team and might have the best attack Baylor has faced since the regular season started. The offense isn't clicking for the bears just yet, so a 2-1 loss is my prediction. 

 

 
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