One of three Bears named All-Big 12, senior forward Dana Larsen was also honored as an NSCAA All-American, just the third in Baylor history and the program's first since 1998. For her efforts both on the field and off, she was named the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year for women's soccer and Big 12 Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
After winning Baylor's first Big 12 Conference title in 1998, Baylor soccer fell into mediocrity for the next decade or so. That is, until Marci Jobson took over the program five years ago.
Under the leadership of the former U.S. National Team member, the Bears' win totals have improved each year, from five in 2008 to a school-record 19 in 2012 as Baylor completed the best season in program history.
This fall, the Bears finished second in the Big 12 Conference, won the Big 12 postseason tournament and reached the NCAA's Sweet 16 for the first time ever. There, Baylor tied eventual national champion North Carolina 1-1 but saw the season end on penalty kicks against the 22-time national champs. The Bears finished the year with a record of 19-1-5 and ranked 11th in the NSCAA poll, the program's best-ever final placing.
"There were so many different moments that were really special this year, but the Big 12 championship to me kind of summed it all up," said Jobson. "When I first got here, we were fighting just to make the tournament every year. The tournament championship showed how far we had come as a program. To see those girls that first believed in me and my vision for this program hold up that trophy was an incredible feeling."
The trophy was confirmation of Jobson's approach to rebuilding the Baylor program, in which she and her team focused on the process -- being the best they can be -- instead of the wins and losses.
"A lot of Christians embrace this theory of, 'Oh, leave it up to the Lord.' And they go out and play like a pansy, and you're like, 'Wait, are you a Christian athlete or not?'" Jobson said. "Obviously I coach a lot of Christian girls. As a player, I always believed what it meant to be a Christian athlete was to be one of the hardest working, toughest, fiercest competitors, and a lot of my motivational talks to my girls are about what it means to play for Christ. I think that's what they are motivated by, and that's what I believe in, so I've really embraced that part of Baylor and being able to coach here."
Coming off back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time in program history, next fall's squad will return 22 letterwinners and seven starters from the 2012 team as Jobson's Bears look to build on this year's success.