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Preview: Bears host Longhorns in Big 12 battle on Homecoming

October 14, 2021
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WACO, Texas – With the Baylor Family gathering around campus this weekend, Baylor soccer will fight for Big 12 supremacy Friday Night at Betty Lou Mays Field. The 7-3-4 Bears welcome the 8-3-3, #25 ranked Texas Longhorns for a matchup between the top two teams in the conference by points-per-game.

Points-per-game is a term that Big 12 soccer fans should get used to because this year’s regular-season champion will be selected based on that metric. This is thanks to the Iowa State vs Oklahoma State game being canceled due to weather without the ability to be rescheduled.

For now, it's simple for Bears fans: Texas has 13 points through five games and Baylor has 10 points through five games. If Baylor wins, they both have 13 through six games, and Baylor has the tiebreaker. If they lose, Baylor is down six points total and one point-per-game.  A draw would see the Bears stay three points behind in total, with the ppg deficit shrinking to 0.50.

SicEm365
Official Big 12 PPG-based standings as of 10/13

With all the possibilities and math out of the way, let’s focus on the Longhorns.

Texas has a fairly commanding lead over Baylor in the all-time series at 16-9-4 and has a record of 8-3-2 in Waco. That includes victories for the burnt orange in each of the last four meetings and each of the last three visits to the Lou as well.

Baylor coach Paul Jobson will be looking to improve on his 2-7-1 record against the Longhorns, and to do so his Bears will have to end the Horns’ 260-minute shutout streak. Aside from that streak, goals will be a necessity for Baylor to avoid a loss because of the wealth of talented playmakers Texas has.

Texas Athletics
Byers turns vs Oregon

This is a fiery young Texas team with experience in just the right places. Over half of its roster is

made up of underclassmen, 17 out of 28 to be exact. They have an outstanding freshman class headlined by forward Trinity Byers (#15) and midfielder Lexi Missimo (#10).

Byers won three consecutive Big 12 freshman of the week honors before being dethroned this past week. She has tallied eight goals and eight assists while playing in all 14 games for the Horns, and four goals and three assists have come during conference play.

Not to be outdone, Missimo has one goal and four assists in Big 12 play, bumping her season totals up to eight goals and nine assists. That is not to mention that before Byers’ three-peat, Missimo won Big 12 freshman of the week honors twice in a row. 

Thanks to those two young guns, the Texas attack has earned itself a decent nickname: “Run BMG”.

The “G” is for Julia Grosso (#7), a senior midfielder who has seen some glory on the international soccer stage. Grosso has been a member of the Canadian women’s national team for both the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. In Tokyo, she scored the deciding goal in the penalty shootout.

But none of that is why she’s earned her spot in the nickname. She has six goals and four assists on the year, three and two in conference play respectively. Together these three attackers have accounted for 65 of Texas’ 84 points this year (2 points for a goal, 1 point for an assist). That is just incredible. Grosso has also started every game for the burnt orange and is a true leader of the team. 

Texas Athletics
Grosso surveys the defense

The stage will never be too big for her, as far as college soccer goes, and she can help balance out the inexperience of the team.

That job is not done alone though, with fifth-year goalkeeper Savannah Madden (#0) and senior outside-back Emma Regan (#26) helping to offer veteran savvy at other positions on the field. 

The results Texas has had this year line up well with the storyline of a young team gelling at the right time. A 1-3-2 start against solid competition makes sense for a team playing so many talented freshmen new to the college game and to each other. 

Their eight-match unbeaten streak is very impressive, but Baylor has a nine-match streak under its belt and can end the Longhorns’ Friday night. Texas also hasn’t seen the conference foes that Baylor has. The Horns have yet to play Oklahoma State or Kansas. They also surrendered a furious three-goal comeback by Oklahoma before netting a fourth to take the win.

That is all to say that Texas is not on an unbeatable streak right now. Their players are confident and very technically skilled, but a cohesive, physical, and hungry Baylor team can beat anyone in this conference on their day. 

The Bottom Line: This is a game that Baylor needs for a few reasons, and coach Jobson will have them ready to compete hard. The only question is if things will fall their way or not.

It should be one heck of a game Friday night in front of that homecoming crowd.

 

 
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