Whenever the USF Women's Soccer team travels for away matches, coach Denise Schilte-Brown goes for a run around the opponent’s campus. She’ll always pick up student newspapers hoping to find information that could give her team a competitive edge in the forthcoming game.
It’s part of her routine.
Instead of traveling, though, USF (1-1) hosts No. 20 Baylor (2-0) on Friday at Corbett Stadium at 7 p.m. Schilte-Brown may not be running around campus the morning before that game, but she has another routine to prepare for USF’s top-25 opponent.
“We do a SWOT analysis,” Schilte-Brown said. “Strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We do our analysis based off that to make sure we’re prepared.”
Schilte-Brown discussed Baylor’s strengths in depth, citing the team’s athleticism.
“I don’t think they’re short of any athletic ability in any of their positions,” Schilte-Brown said. “So you want to be really prepared for that high-intensity demeanor. The game will kind of be 100-miles-per hour and I think that’s from their athletic prowess to be able to maintain that intensity throughout the game.”
Schilte-Brown didn’t give away any of the Bull’s specific tactics on how to beat the Bears, but said the team would need to be focused from the first to last whistle.
“I think that the minute you take a deep breath, you’ll have someone running over you to get after the ball,” she said. “Some games feel like a sprint because you can get off on the right foot and get ahead to take the wind out of their sails. I feel like this is going to be a marathon of focus…I don’t think they’re going to give up the entire game regardless of if we score multiple goals.”
Last season, Schilte-Brown and the Bulls played against another top-ranked team early — losing 4-2 against No. 4 North Carolina at home.
Schilte-Brown noted that North Carolina is a team that will almost always play the same type of soccer, despite the opponent. She said Baylor is similar to UNC in the way they approach matches — trusting their team’s style instead of making tactical changes for each team.
Despite a limited experience of Baylor’s playstyle, Schilte-Brown said she has a good idea what to expect on Friday.
“I’ve only ever played them once in the history of my career,” she said. “I really have no other game to go on, but because the first game I played against them and the game I just watched are almost mirrors of each other, I feel confident in my assessment that that’s what I’m going to face.”
Schilte-Brown and the Bulls will face an undefeated Baylor team that features some talented players. Baylor midfielder Maddie Algya was recently named the Big-12 Freshman of the week after scoring two goals and collecting two assists in the Bear’s first games.
For the Bulls, junior Andrea Hauksdottir has had a hand — or a foot — in each of the three goals USF scored this season. Two of her corner kicks have led to goals for the Bulls.
Schilte-Brown recognized that result of her preparation routine will ultimately come down to her players and the way they apply her coaching.
“I believe that it’s their decision, it’s in their hands,” Schilte-Brown said. “I think that this is a good group of girls and I feel like we’ve put together some incredible bits of soccer…I don’t think we’ve seen an opponent like Baylor…This is going to be different.”