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Baylor Soccer

Soccer Season Preview: Top Three Conference Games

August 9, 2022
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With the soccer season just a week or so away, and exhibitions starting on Thursday, it’s time to help people get to know the team and its schedule.

We started with the Top Three Returning Players, looked at the Top Three Newcomers, broke down who the Top Three “Upside” Returners are, looked at the Top Three Questions for the 2022 Baylor Soccer team, tabbed the Top Three Non-Conference Games, and today I finally pick my Top Three Conference Games.

Tomorrow, despite a packed schedule with football Fall camp, I will try to do a little preview for Thursday’s LSU match. Whether or not that happens, I hope you are excited, because the season is here!

The Top Three Conference Games

Now remember, these are rather subjective choices. I’m just excited to see these games and think that success in them could help the team climb the Big 12 rankings and qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

At Texas (9/30) — According to the United Soccer Coaches Poll, this is the second-best team in the Big 12. That makes sense given they finished second in the Big 12 last year and have a huge amount of young talent. Getting a win over the Longhorns, while always nice, would be especially empowering to the team this year with it being the second conference game for the Bears and on the road no less.

Plus, Texas is frankly the toughest match for the green and gold in the first half of conference play. While none of these schools should be overlooked, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State are not the soccer powers of the Big 12. TCU and West Virginia are. Texas is close to that top tier. They have a lot of talent and are coming off a runner-up finish in both the regular season and conference tournament.
A win for Baylor in Austin could be a huge confidence builder on the field, help with recruiting, and kind of announce that Michelle Lenard and the Bears are getting things going quickly. Or it could just be a fun win. Either way, three points would be very helpful.

Oh and the 0-0 draw in Waco last year was super entertaining. End-to-end action from a game constantly in transition. Frankly, it was astounding that neither team netted a goal. So imagine what it could be like with a revamped Baylor attack!

SicEm365
Taylor Moon holds off a defender in Baylor’s 3-2 win over Texas Tech in 2021

At Texas Tech (10/20) — Last year’s game was possibly the most exciting game for the Bears all season. After surrendering a 1-0 lead and finding themselves down 2-1, the Bears mounted a second-half comeback with Gabby Mueller scoring the winner from about 30 yards out.

If this year’s game is anything like that one, then we are in for a treat. The Red Raiders play fast and physical. Plus they are a team in the middle tier of the conference, right where Baylor usually is. If the Bears can win this fight, it bodes well for Lenard’s first year.

Obviously, a long trip out to Lubbock is not the easiest, and a loss is not the end of the world, but like the other two games I’ve picked, I think this is a game that will show us just how far this team has come in the new system and with all the new players.

Vs Oklahoma State (10/27) — The regular season finale. A lot could be on the line at this point in the year. Hopefully, it is already secured, but a spot in the Big 12 tournament is not guaranteed. A spot in the NCAA Tournament could be made more certain with a win and better seeding for the conference tournament.

Oklahoma State Athletics

Beyond that, the Pokes are pretty good. Last year they went 4-3-1 in the Big 12, finishing fourth just behind the Bears. That placement was in large part thanks to Baylor’s 2-1 win in Stillwater at the start of conference play.

Now this game is at the end, and after TCU visits the Lou, the team might need a bit of a rebound before the games start being elimination games.

Once again, it will be a good marker game for where the team is at.

Next Up: An actual Soccer game on Thursday against LSU! 7 PM at Betty Lou Mays Field. I hope many of y’all will go and watch the new coach and her team in action for the first time this year. Should be fun to see how Lenard has them playing!

 
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