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Baylor Soccer

Soccer Spring Exhibition vs. Texas A&M Notes and Photos

March 26, 2022
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Here are some notes on how this spring is going for Baylor Soccer, specifically after their exhibition against Texas A&M today, which Baylor dropped 3-1.

I’ll recap the game, then jump into some broader notes on the team.

Also, there is a photo gallery at the bottom!


Game Recap

The Bears lost their second spring exhibition game 3-1 to the Aggies after beating SFA 2-0 last weekend in Nacogdoches.

The Aggies were crisper and cleaner today, not to mention deeper on the bench.

Baylor fought hard and could have made a tight game of it, but some defensive miscues and an injury derailed them today.

In the first of three 30-minute periods, the green and gold came out in a 3-5-2 formation, which was very intriguing after seeing mostly 4-3-3 last season.

Kayley Ables, Marissa Gray and Ava Colberg filled out the backline. Gray being healthy through the fall would be very good for the defense, and coach Lenard spoke highly of her impact on the team.

SicEm365

In the midfield, we got to see a couple of players in new positions. Elizabeth Kooiman played a defensive midfielder role after playing on the left wing all of last season.

Haven Terry was on the left wing after being more of a center forward last year in her appearances.

Sophomore Brooklyn Kouns also played the majority of the day in the midfield, and I believe she did not see the field last season.

Maddie Algya and Sarah Hornyak rounded out the position group, where Hornyak and Terry were outright wingers and Algya and Kouns were more box-to-box in the center of the field.

Olivia Mack and Mackenzie Anthony were the forwards for the Bears.

Look out for the 3-5-2 to pop up in the fall as coach Lenard and her staff will try to switch things up on opponents and make them prepare for more.

The Bears gave up a couple of tough goals off of set pieces in the first period today. The first was a high arching corner headed home past Alyssa Navarrete to make it 1-0.

The second came when Baylor could not clear the ball out of their box and the Aggies knocked it home in the end.

Between those two goals, Mackenzie Anthony had a chance to equalize at 1-1, when Haven Terry was released down the left wing.

Anthony got tangled up with the defenders, missed the chance, and stayed down. Whether or not it was a foul I can’t say, but more importantly, it was the end of Anthony’s day. It appeared to be a right knee injury, and I’m not certain of the severity. Anthony led the team in goals last season.

Before the period ended, Kate Zimmerman had subbed in on the backline and Colberg moved up to winger. Chloe Brown also replaced Anthony up front.

In the second and third periods, Lenard set her team up in a 4-3-3 formation, and they looked more cohesive and comfortable.

SicEm365

Haven Terry was able to pull on back for Baylor when Colberg gave her a great chipped ball over the Aggie backline to chase. Terry controlled the pass and calmly slotted it past the keeper. 2-1.

A&M responded though and bagged another goal before the end of the period to make it 3-1. I was taking pictures at the other end of the field, but from my conversation with coach Lenard after the game, I gather the goal was not the kind you just have to live with being scored on you.

Overall, Texas A&M had more possession of the ball today, and they really stressed Baylor in ways that surely provided good lessons and experience for the Bears.

It was a winnable game, but things did not break Baylor’s way. Coach Lenard said they wanted to experience momentum shifts today and not get shut out. Tasks accomplished, but the loss of Anthony definitely affected the team.

Lenard was overall happy with the lessons that they learned today and the experience they gained playing the counter-pressing system against a high-quality opponent.

One thing to note is that coach was clear that she does not like to sit back and keep things “respectable” when down. She wants to find ways to score and possibly to win. Especially with it being an exhibition game, that philosophy makes great sense and points to her faith in her players and her system. They are going to find a way to be competitive and earn results.


Broader Notes

  • The team is very thin right now, with only around 15 healthy and available outfield players.
  • The midfield is bearing the brunt of this, so some players have played out of position. Both the coaches and the players can learn a lot from this heading into the fall though.
  • Lenard noted in my sit-down interview with her that the most important position group in her system is midfield, and Maddie Algya is the only starting midfielder from last season available right now, with Gabby Mueller out recovering from an injury.
  • Expect coach Lenard and her staff to give the transfer portal a very good look. Goalkeeper and midfield are the positions that would benefit the most from an experienced addition to the team currently.
  • While there is plenty of experimenting going on as far as formations and positions go, the team seems to be doing well sticking to Lenard’s philosophy of play. They are committed no matter the score.

Up next for the Bears this spring is a trip to LSU on April 9th. The only other home game this spring is April 14th, the Thursday before Easter against Brookhaven College.

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Soccer Spring Exhibition vs. Texas A&M Notes and Photos

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