Back from an 11-day road trip that encompassed four games in four states, Betty Lou Mays Field looked like an old friend to Baylor soccer coach Paul Jobson.
The Bears will play at home for the first time since Aug. 25 when they host Arkansas at 7 p.m. Thursday night.
“It’s always great to be home,” Jobson said. “Even though we had a great time where we were, we really missed being here and sleeping in your own bed and playing on your home field. I think the week and a half being off Betty Lou has been good for her too. She looks great and ready to be played on.”
Jobson was pleased with Baylor’s performances on the marathon road trip. The Bears (3-1-1) opened with a 1-0 win over Drake in Des Moines on Aug. 30 before a 1-1 tie against Nebraska in Lincoln on Sept. 1. Baylor then headed west and beat Wyoming, 2-0, in Laramie on Sept. 6 before ending the road trip with a 1-0 loss to Colorado last Sunday in Boulder.
“It was interesting to play in four different states,” said Baylor goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt. “I felt like we were gone for about a year. But it was really cool to see a bunch of different teams from a bunch of different conferences, and they really showed us a lot.”
With the win over Wyoming, Jobson recorded his 79th win at Baylor since taking the head coaching reins in 2015. He broke the school record for wins set by his wife, Marci Jobson, who recorded 78 from 2008-14.
Jobson assisted his wife in coaching duties before taking over the program when she stepped down to take care of their growing family that includes four sons.
“When we came to Baylor there was a lot of work to be done,” Jobson said. “She and I have been a fantastic team from day one and kind of did what we needed to do to turn the program around. We don’t talk about it at home unless you guys bring it up, and it kind of becomes funny at home. She definitely claims our wins together but won’t claim my losses.”
The Bears will try to avenge a 3-2 loss to Arkansas last year in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks are off to a strong start with a 4-1-1 record behind a prolific offense that has scored 23 goals, including four apiece by Taylor Malham and Stefani Doyle.
“Colby (Hale) and his group have done a great job rebuilding that program,” Jobson said. “They’re a fantastic team with some quality players. We went there and played a nice really hard match last year, and they beat us. So we’re excited to get them back at our home place.”
Baylor is looking for more offensive production after scoring just eight goals in five games. But the Bears’ defense has been tremendous, as opponents have scored just four goals.
“We talked about it from the beginning that we needed to figure out who we are and what our identity is as a team,” Jobson said. “We needed to continue to build our team chemistry, especially within our back line. I think through that entire trip we continued to get better every game at the little details that are fine tuning us to becoming the really good team we think we can be.”