KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The defending conference champions visit a team aspiring for its first league crown since 1998 when 17th-ranked Baker takes on No. 25 Benedictine on Saturday, October 20 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Game of the Week.
The Matchup: #17 Baker (9-3-1, 3-1-0 HAAC) at #25 Benedictine (13-1-1, 3-0-1), BC Soccer Complex, Atchison, Kan., 5:00 p.m.
Last Five Seasons: Benedictine leads, 5-2
Last Season: Baker 1, Benedictine 0 (OT) (Oct. 22, 2011 - Baldwin City, Kan.)
Last Time Out: Graceland 2, Baker 1 (OT); Benedictine 1, Missouri Valley 1
About the Wildcats: In order to repeat as conference regular season champions, Baker is going to have to do what no other team has done this season by winning in Atchison and will need some help along the way. The Wildcats saw their four-match winning streak end on Saturday on a 100th-minute golden goal by Graceland to put the Yellowjackets in the HAAC driver's seat. At the heart of the Baker attack is Jordan Dolbin, one of the most creative and talented players in the nation who boasts six goals and 10 assists on the season. Alexa Fryer (11 goals) and Finola Corley (8) have thrived in the attack with over half of the team's goals while Rachel Theobald has started all 13 matches in goal and has a 1.03 goals against average. Baker picked up a 1-0 win over the Ravens at home last season, the second-straight season the home team has won on its field by that scoreline and the fourth-straight game in which the visiting team has failed to score.
About the Ravens: The numbers tell the story so far in 2012 for Benedictine as a 13-1-1 record is supported by a 77-4 scoring margin. The Ravens have scored at least four goals in nine games, have been shutout just once and have not allowed more than one goal in any game this season. Benedictine has also allowed just one goal at home and that came in a 9-1 win over Concordia (Neb.) in the season opener. The offensive onslaught is spearheaded by Bethany Smith, who is 6th in the NAIA with 43 points and 7th in goals with 17. Tara Russell is not far behind her with 16 goals and 33 points while five other players have scored at least four goals. The Ravens have only allowed 91 shots on the season, an average of just over six per game, and Ashley Holland boasts a miniscule 0.23 goals against average. The next four days are crucial for the Ravens as they visit league-leading Graceland on Tuesday with these two games likely deciding the regular season championship.