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Quotes & Notes: Baylor Soccer Ends Spring with 0-0 Draw at SMU

April 24, 2022

On Saturday, April 23th, Baylor Soccer traveled to Dallas to face SMU in its fourth and final spring exhibition game. The Bears drew 0-0 with the Mustangs on a windy day in the metroplex, and head coach Michelle Lenard was kind enough to share with me some of her thoughts on the game and the spring as a whole.

On the challenges of the SMU game, Lenard said, “We competed well in the physical battle and did well with our limited substitutions but we didn’t have as much control over the ball or the game as I’d like. SMU was strong in possession and caused us some problems with their build-up play and midfield rotations.”

“Our players had to work to find solutions to their off-the-ball movement. I thought we got better as the game went on but couldn’t put together a consistent dangerous attack. We did have two shots off the crossbar but they also had one.” 

SMU was a tournament team last year, beating Texas in the round of 64 2-0, before losing 5-1 to eventual national champion Florida State. The Mustangs we a fringe top 25 team through the end of last season if my memory serves correctly, and when they visited Waco, Baylor needed an overtime goal to beat them 2-1. 

What I am getting at is that SMU is a good measuring stick. A 0-0 draw against a good team is nothing to scoff at, especially with a new coach and a new style of play. Eventually, I will stop harping on that newness, but for now, it's just the reality of the Baylor soccer program. 

Also, the freshness of the staff changes is not the only factor that should temper opinions of the program this spring. Injuries have been very tough on the squad and Coach Lenard spoke to that.

“We went into the game with a lot of players out injured but knowing it would be great experience for some of our younger and less experienced players. It has been very windy this spring and today was about 25 mph winds so that had a big effect on the game.” 

That experience for young players in tough conditions could pay off greatly in the fall whether it is how they help the team in-game or just pushing each other in practice. 

Overall, a spring that produces wins over SFA and LSU, plus a draw with SMU, despite a major tactical shift and a thin roster is good to see. 

On finishing the spring 2-1-1, coach Lenard said, “I’m pretty happy with that given the number of injuries we have had. We learned a new game model and playing philosophy that we will carry into the spring. We also got to know the girls better as players and people. It has been a lot of change for all of us but we are settling in and very excited for next fall!”

She is not the only one excited for next season either. Watching the talent that Baylor Soccer has implement an aggressive, possession-based attacking system should be a lot of fun. I hope to see many of y’all out at games or in game threads come August!

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Quotes & Notes: Baylor Soccer Ends Spring with 0-0 Draw at SMU

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