Bear fans who enjoyed watching the U.S. women’s soccer team win gold last week in London are in for a treat this fall in Waco.
The team fifth-year head soccer coach Marci Jobson puts on the field this fall at Baylor may be the most talented team since the Bears won the Big 12 Championship in 1998. League coaches picked BU to finish third in the conference this fall, the program’s highest placing since the preseason poll began in 2000.
The Bears were one of five teams to receive at least one first-place vote in the wide-open conference race. Baylor entered the final weekend of 2011 tied for first in the Big 12 but finished third in a tightly contested field. In Jobson’s fourth season, Baylor soccer earned its first NCAA tournament selection since 1999, hosted a first-round game and won an NCAA postseason match for the first time in program history.
Twenty-two players, including seven starters and the team’s top six leading scorers from 2011, are back this fall. That core battled perennial powerhouse Notre Dame to a 1-1 tie Sunday in an exhibition game at South Bend. Seniors Dana Larsen and Lisa Sliwinski are the team’s top two returning scorers; each begins the year among Baylor’s career top 10 in goals, points and game-winning goals.
The Bears begin the 2012 regular season Friday night at Rice, then return to Waco for their home opener Sunday at 1 p.m. against Northwestern State.
Sic ’em, Baylor soccer!