Texas looks to break losing streak against Baylor

Aneesh Namburi

Frustration is building for the Texas soccer team.

After winning the first three games of Big 12 play, the Longhorns have lost two matches in a row, falling from first to third in the Big 12 standings. Following the heartbreaking double-overtime loss to West Virginia and a disappointing loss against the No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowgirls, the pressure is on to perform well against Baylor.

“It’s frustrating. If we could all work more off one another and not collapsing, it would have been a better result,” senior forward Cyera Hintzen said after the loss to Oklahoma State. “We’re just going to talk about this and things we can work on and go in with a strong mentality against Baylor.”

Improvement will depend on how the team performs in a couple of the most key areas in soccer: keeping the ball and making shots.

“I thought we just gave the ball away too often,” head coach Angela Kelly said. “We just needed to connect more passes and had poor decision-making at times.”

Part of the issue in the most recent loss was Oklahoma State’s deployment of five defensive backs, which created separation between the midfielders and forwards. However, if the issue presents itself again, the Longhorns feel like they know what needs to be done.

“When it gets like that, the central playmakers are really what we need — us trying to move in better positions for the team and make plays so we get more of a flow in the game,” Hintzen said.

Finishing on offensive opportunities has been an issue for Texas all season. Despite ranking near the top of the conference in shots and shots on goal, the amount of strikes that find the back of the net drop a significant amount compared to the other two numbers. Missed opportunities often make the difference in close games.

“I thought we had a good response at the beginning of the second half and created quite a few scoring opportunities,” Kelly said. “We just need to put one away. I mean, if Sydney Nobles hits that one back post (the header) or Emma Regan’s shot goes in, you’re talking about different feelings, different responses.”

Texas has a good opportunity to grab a win against a Bears team whose success during Big 12 play has matched the inconsistency of the Longhorns. Over the past five games, Baylor has gone 3–2 and are coming off of a 2-1 loss to Oklahoma.

The Bears will be looking for freshman forward Elizabeth Kooiman to lead the charge. Kooiman scored a hat trick against West Virginia last week and looks to continue that kind of production against
the Longhorns.

To win Friday’s match, the Longhorns will have to overcome the Bears’ physicality on defense. Baylor averages 10.46 fouls per game, third highest in the conference. Comparatively, Texas has the lowest mark, as the team relies more on the speed and finesse of their players.

“We know they’re a physical and aggressive team,” Hintzen said. “But anything can happen in this conference, and I think we are ready to go and win.”

The game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field.