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Baylor Soccer

Baylor Soccer 2022 Schedule Breakdown

June 3, 2022
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WACO, Texas — On Wednesday, Baylor Soccer announced its full schedule for the 2022 season. Starting August 18, the Bears will play three Big Ten teams, travel to Austin for a pair of neutral site games highlighted by the 21-time national champion North Carolina Tar Heels, and continue their series against in-state foe SMU. Conference play will start September 9, against Oklahoma, and the conference tournament will take place in Round Rock the week after Halloween.

The Bears' schedule consists of two exhibition matches, nine non-conference matches (three home, four away, two neutral), and nine Big 12 games (five home, four away).

College soccer has very slim margins for making the NCAA Tournament, so racking up wins (rather than draws even) is important for strengthening your resume. In fact, the performance of other conference members is key as well. In that respect, the Big 12 needs to rebound from a relatively down year last year.

After finishing third in the Big 12 with an 8-5-6 (4-2-3) record but missing the NCAA tournament, the Bears will be looking to push higher in the standing and deeper into the postseason while implementing new head coach Michelle Lenard’s possession-based, attacking style of play.

Baylor’s non-conference slate has a consistent quality all the way through. Starting with a couple of home games against Minnesota and Wisconsin at home, the Bears will look to improve on the results of 2021, where they won only 1 point of a possible 6 against these programs.

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Maddie Algya vs West Virginia

From there the Bears hit the main event of the non-conference slate: neutral site games in Austin against SEC foe Florida and, more interestingly, 21-time national champion North Carolina.

The Tar Heels had a relatively down year last year, finishing 6th in the ACC but make no mistake, that program is the bluest of blue bloods. It should be an interesting opportunity for Baylor to show how they measure up against the college soccer elite.

From there, the Bears are on the road for four of their final five non-conference games. The only reprieve is getting the Iowa Hawkeyes at Betty Lou Mays Field on September 4. The road contests include Houston, San Francisco, Gonzaga, and SMU.

After the game with the Mustangs, the Bears hit arguably their most crucial stretch of the year. Four of Baylor’s first five Big 12 games are against teams that finished last year in the bottom half of the standings (OU, KU, KSU, and ISU). If wins are the most crucial part of building a resume, then this is exactly where the green and gold need to rack them up. This is where the floor of this team will be set.

One game that cannot be overlooked in the middle of this run is the trip to Austin to play the Longhorns on September 30. Texas had a young team finish undefeated in Big 12 play last year, good enough for second place. They will likely be better this year, so this early test in conference play will be telling of where the Bears are at.

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Olivia Mack and Mackenzie Anthony celebrate a goal against Texas Tech

The final stretch of games, where the ceiling of the 2022 team will likely be decided, is split evenly between home and away. At West Virginia and at Texas Tech matches precede home tilts against defending champs TCU as well as Oklahoma State. Each of those games will be a demanding battle, and Baylor will have something to play for in each. Whether that something is making the conference tournament in Round Rock, boosting the resume for the NCAA tournament, or even competing for the Big 12 regular-season title, the final four games will be a challenge.

If there were a few games I would put a star next to, I would tab North Carolina and SMU in non-conference, plus Texas and Texas Tech in conference.

UNC is an elite measuring stick to help everyone understand how far from the ultimate goal the Baylor program might be.

The visit to SMU is a great test right before conference play to get the Bears into a groove. A win there could spark a run of wins that would go a long way to NCAA qualification.

Texas is my Big 12 measuring stick game in a very different way from the UNC game. The Bears have every chance of winning this game. I expect Texas to be competing for the conference crown, so if Baylor wins, they could be in that conversation as well.

Texas Tech is the most physical team in a conference full of physical teams. It could be a fun challenge for Michelle Lenard's possession-based system, and after last year’s awesome 3-2 win in Waco, I bet this game will be entertaining at least.

With all that said, every game counts, and every fan in the stands helps the program. On a site named SicEm365.com, I think it's only right to urge as many of y’all that are able to attend to do so.

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Baylor Soccer 2022 Schedule Breakdown

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