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Baylor Soccer

Baylor Soccer Signs Five to Recruiting Class, Plus Season Wrap-Up

November 12, 2021
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WACO, Texas — Baylor Soccer’s 2021 season is now over with the team missing the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. The Bears finished third win the Big 12 at 4-2-3 and 8-5-6 overall. Typically, finishing third in the Big 12 would get you into the NCAA Tournament, but it was a down year for the conference, and Baylor did not win enough games in the end. 

This is the seventh time in the last ten years that the Bears have missed college soccer’s big dance. They finished at 72nd in RPI despite good wins over #8 TCU and #25 SMU. The green and gold also drew with tournament teams #21 Texas and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is an interesting case to look at, seeing as they also went into "Selection Monday" with an 8-5-6 record. They went 3-3-4 in the Big Ten, but they did play four tournament teams in non-conference compared to Baylor’s two.

Overall, a weaker schedule and a weaker conference couple with winning only one of their last seven games, saw the Bears slide out of the tournament field after a very strong start to Big 12 play.

Coach Paul Jobson commented on missing the tournament this week on the Baylor Coaches’ Show. During his interview, he said that he knows the Bears were better than some of their results and that it had been a long time since third place in the Big 12 had missed the tournament. 

It had been six years in fact, since it happened last in 2015. The Bears’ quality wins just weren’t able to overcome the tough losses like Kansas, Oklahoma, or Minnesota.

Another small disappointment at the end of the season came from the announcement of the all-conference teams. As I mentioned in one of my last articles, Jennifer Wandt and Ava Colberg were deserving of spots on at least one of those teams, and Coach Jobson said as much during his Coaches’ Show interview.

He and his team will move on to what’s next quickly though. Recruiting is picking up for the coaching staff, with national signing day being this past Wednesday. Five student-athletes have signed their letters of intent to join Baylor Soccer, and there will be more information on them in a bit.

The current players will transition into their offseason in different ways depending on how they finished the season according to Coach Jobson. Those who were more banged up will take more time to fully recover, while those who might not have earned as much playing time as they wanted can jump quickly into improving their game. 

The Bears are losing three key pieces of this season’s team in fifth-year players Jennifer Wandt, Sarah Norman and Ally Henderson-Ashkinos. Wandt finished her Baylor career second in games played, first in wins, and first in shutouts. Norman started all but two games in central defense for the Bears this year, playing a key role in all eight shutouts. Henderson-Ashkinos finished her college career as Baylor’s all-time leader in games started and game played, getting minutes in 100 games as a Bear. 

Losing a great goalie or a central defender or a defensive midfielder is tough, but losing all three in the same offseason is especially trying. The Bears have the talent and coaching to stay successful in defense, but there are big shoes to fill in those positions. 

The good news is that Georgetown transfer Alyssa Navarrete should be back next year to take over goalkeeping duties unless she gets beaten out by Lauren Traywick or a newcomer to the team.

The talent is also there to fill the holes in the defense and the midfield, with Lorelai Stramrood and Giuliana Cunningham looking ready to earn more minutes in the midfield. For the defense, Kate Zimmerman could step up to take more minutes or Sarah Hornyak could be moved in from the outside back position. 

Many of Baylor’s players are skilled and positionally flexible, so it will be fun to see where Coach Jobson lines people up next year.

As far as newcomers to the program go, five recruits signed on with the Bears on or right after national signing day. Coach Jobson said there could be a few more coming throughout the signing period, and he has not ruled out bringing in any transfers. 

The five signees are:

Camryn Ciborowski — A goalkeeper out of Frisco Memorial High School in Texas, Ciborowskiplayed for the Dallas Texans in the Elite Clubs Nation League (ENCL) and helped Memorial win their district as well as reach the regional finals in the 20-21 season. She is a member of the FCA and is Memorial’s student body president.

Trinity Edgerton — An outside back out of Rowlett High School in Garland Texas, she plays club soccer with FC Dallas 04g in the ECNL. She was her district’s offensive MVP and is a goalscoring threat from her position. She is also a member of both the Nation Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society.

Annika Fredell — A forward from Austin Westlake High School in Texas, she plays club soccer with Sting Austin. She is a two-time all-district played and a four-year starter for Westlake. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and a College Board AP Scholar.

Sarah Melcher — A defender from the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in San Diego, California, she plays in the ECNL with Rebels SC out of Chula Vista. She helped her squad win their league championship and reach the state quarterfinals. Off the field, she is a member of the National Honor Society.

Ashlee Zirkel — A goalkeeper out of Tivy High School in Kerrville, Texas, she plays her club soccer with Classics Elite. She won all-district honors as a freshman and played basketball for Tivy as well. She was also a member of the National Honor Society. 

Those five make a good recruiting class on their own, but there could be more added through the signing period. 

During the Baylor Coaches’ Show interview, Coach Jobson offered some insight into how COVID-19 affected recruiting. As COVID started to set in, he and his staff slowed their recruiting efforts instead of rushing to make commitments.

He went on to detail how the trials of the pandemic gave players time to train and let the best shine through. So, with the best recruits separating themselves, the strain caused by current players having an extra, “COVID year” of eligibility was eased. The standout recruits were offered, and the team gets to keep experienced players longer.

Despite the disappointing end to the 2021 season, Baylor Soccer is on to what’s next, and will hopefully find more success in 2022. 

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Baylor Soccer Signs Five to Recruiting Class, Plus Season Wrap-Up

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