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Baylor Soccer

Baylor Soccer Prepares for Senior Night Matchup with Cincinnati

October 11, 2023

Thursday night is Senior Night for Baylor Soccer as they close out the home schedule with a Big 12 match against Cincinnati at 7 PM. 

Baylor (8-5-2, 3-3-1) is riding high on a three-game winning streak and a four-game unbeaten streak, all in conference. This streak is highlighted by the Bears’ latest victory, a 2-1 win at UCF. 

The Knights are a solid team and tough to beat at their home field. Baylor went into Orlando and really dictated that game to earn what is arguably the best win of its season to date and build confidence moving into the final stretch.

“I think results are helpful to improve our confidence,” Baylor head coach Michelle Lenard said Wednesday, “But overall I think that we are moving on the same track we’ve been moving on all year. It wasn’t ever that we really lacked confidence, we lacked experience.”

While it might not have looked like it at the time, starting Big 12 play with a brutal three-game stretch of ranked teams may have paid dividends. The nerves and mistakes came early and lessons could be learned quicker as a result.

Now, the upcoming opponents — the Bearcats (3-6-5, 2-2-3) — are 1-1-1 in their last three, losing to No. 14 Texas Tech, beating Oklahoma State and tying Oklahoma. A respectable if not intimidating string of results.

They score 0.71 goals per game but only give up 1.21 per game on the season. They are tough to score against and have avoided losses in more games than not because of this.

“They’re a scrappy, hard-working team that has gotten some interesting results,” said Coach Lenard, “Overall, I think that they are very defensive-minded, very counter-attacking-minded, really looking to win the chaotic moments of the game, win second balls and they are good at that.”

The Bears will have to be alert for the full 90 minutes Thursday night to ensure that they do not give away a result against the flow of the game in a flash.

Senior defender Blythe Obar emphasized just that when offering some keys to success through the last three games: “Focusing on playing a full 90, playing for each other and obviously getting wins.”

One player who should give Baylor fans reason to hope for good results is freshman forward Salma Simonin. The Manchester, UK native took a while to get acclimated to America, Texas, and the college game, but she has now scored in two straight games and her playing time is ramping up. 

“It’s been a big change coming to America in general, like the heat when I first got here needed adjusting to. But I think I’ve adapted to it now, finally. So, I’ve started to gain more confidence.”

Coming from the Manchester City academy, Simonin has found it easy to form connections with her teammates and others here in the States, noting how nice everyone has been. Specifically, she mentioned a good on-field connection with Tyler Isgrig when asked.

If one of those two can put the ball in the back of the net even just once, Baylor’s odds of winning a point will go way up. Cincinnati has scored multiple goals just once this season.

Adding Jenna Patterson back to the starting lineup will surely help the Bears as well. The graduate student has been brought back slowly from an ankle injury a few weeks back against BYU and will be good to go, likely on limited minutes, for Senior Night.

Patterson is one of the three elders in the squad along with Madison Martin and Makinzie Short.

Martin, who transferred to Baylor last year from Texas Tech, was honored last Thursday after Baylor’s win over Iowa State.

Short and Patterson, who are both set for playing time Thursday night will be honored after the game.

“They’ve all been a part of rebuilding this program in a new image,” said Coach Lenard, “All three of them are tremendous leaders. Setting the culture off the field is where they have probably made the biggest influence.”

If supporting the team and especially the three “seniors” is not enough to get fans out to Betty Lou Mayes Field, then perhaps the scarf giveaway will help.

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Baylor Soccer Prepares for Senior Night Matchup with Cincinnati

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