Baylor couldn’t have picked a better time to be playing its best soccer of the season.
Riding a three-game winning streak, the Bears will face No. 10 Texas in their home finale at 7 p.m. Friday at Betty Lou Mays Field.
The Bears (10-3-2, 4-2-1) have beaten Texas Tech, Kansas State and Kansas in succession to move into fifth place in the Big 12. They’ve qualified for the Big 12 tournament, but the final two games against third-place Texas (12-1-2, 4-1-2) and TCU (10-4-1, 4-1-1) on Oct. 27 in Fort Worth will be important as the Bears try build their NCAA tournament resume.
The NCAA tournament field will include 64 teams, and Baylor is No. 54 in the most recent RPI. The Bears hope to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012.
“Both (Texas and TCU) have great winning percentages, and that will do nothing but help your RPI if you can pull off the victory,” said Baylor coach Paul Jobson. “You hope through the season you continue to make progress, but I definitely think we’re as sharp as we’ve been defensively and we’ve put some pieces together to give ourselves some great scoring opportunities.”
Aline De Lima leads the Bears with four goals while Jackie Crowther has scored three. Freshman Jennifer Wandt has been an outstanding goalkeeper as she’s allowed just five goals in 12 games.
“We’re peaking at the right time and we’re meshing together and playing together real well,” Wandt said. “I think we’re becoming so close on and off the field, and that’s helped a lot.”
Texas had been unbeaten before losing its first game against Kansas, 2-1, on Oct. 13 in Lawrence. The Longhorns rebounded with a 1-0 win over Kansas State in Manhattan last Sunday.
Cyera Hintzen leads the Longhorns with seven goals while Haley Berg has hit five. Nicole Curry has allowed nine goals in 15 games.
“This one is special because it’s Texas and they’re a nationally ranked program this year,” Jobson said. “They’ve got some dangerous players, and are definitely a different team than last year. They’re a team that’s going to make some noise down the stretch.”