Cowgirls looking to end slump when they face Baylor

Bedlam Soccer 2018

Oklahoma State's Grace Yochum battles for the ball during the Cowgirls' home-opener against Oklahoma. 

The Oklahoma State women’s soccer team is staying positive amidst its first losing streak of the season.

After dropping their past two matches against Oklahoma and Texas Tech, the Cowgirls (10-3-1 overall, 2-2-1 Big 12) are looking to break out of their slump on the road Friday against No. 14 Baylor.

Despite the skid, senior Haley Woodard said she and her teammates have regained their upbeat attitudes after getting some extended rest.

“Everybody’s mentally checked back in completely,” Woodard said. “We’re laughing and smiling and having fun in practice again.”

The Cowgirls have fallen behind in their Big 12 title defense, standing at sixth in the conference.

Going on the road, where OSU has struggled at times, the Cowgirls have a tough test ahead against the Big-12-leading Bears.

“We just want to win, period,” said Colin Carmichael, OSU’s coach. “Going down to Baylor is a tough matchup any year, and they’re having a great season, but we’re confident.”

To get a victory, OSU will have to improve coming off a couple of lackluster performances.

The Cowgirls’ offense, which has scored just one goal in the past two games, will need to find a way to get going without senior forward Marlo Zoller. Carmichael said Zoller is out for now and will undergo evaluations week by week. She suffered a lower-leg injury against Texas Tech.

Woodard, who is tied with Zoller for the team lead in goals with six, said it takes a group effort to replace Zoller.

“It probably puts pressure on all of us,” Woodard said. “Last year, we had multiple people that can score, and we still do. We just got to get people doing it.”

The Cowgirls will get reinforcements up front Friday. Sophomore forward Taylor Olson will return to the lineup after sitting out the past two games. Carmichael said sophomore Camy Huddleston will also get some extended minutes.

Freshman Grace Yochum, who has moved around to a few spots in the OSU formation because of injuries, said she is prepared to play wherever she is needed.

With a tough test against a dynamic Baylor offense that leads the Big 12 with 31 goals, the Cowgirls have been working on cleaning up defensive lapses that have plagued them during the losing streak.

“Overall defensively, I thought we played really well in the last three games,” Carmichael said. “But the goals we gave up, from our perspective, have been pretty avoidable.”

Carmichael said valuing the ball and avoiding turnovers are points of focus.

“We’ve got to bounce back,” Yochum said. “We’re a family. You have a lot of highs and a lot of lows in soccer. We got to get a win.

“In the end, if we play how we can play, we’ll be fine.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com