WKU falls in season opener at North Alabama

The WKU soccer team stands for the national anthem before the game against UAB at the WKU Soccer Complex on Friday, Aug 26, 2019.

Sean Snyder

The Lady Toppers (0-1) lost 4-1 in their season opener at North Alabama (1-0). This was the first time in WKU soccer history the Lady Toppers played against the Lions.

The Lady Toppers had a rough start to the first half of the game staying on the defensive for the majority with North Alabama leading in shots against WKU.

“The better team won tonight,” head coach Jason Neidell said. “Full credit to Coach Walker and his players. They came out aggressive and put us on our heels for most of the match. Our team battled hard in the second half, but we just didn’t have enough tonight. We will use the game as a learning lesson and get back on the training field to make improvements in our play.”

North Alabama managed back to back shots on WKU sophomore goalkeeper Afton Schraml in the middle of the first half as the Lady Toppers continued to find their groove. The timely shots came from Lions junior forward Charlotte Kellette and junior defender Chloe Fell within less than five minutes of each other.

The Lions and the Lady Toppers began playing back and forth with defense to offense and back as WKU tried to manage the ball only to continue being one upped by North Alabama’s offense.

The first half ended with North Alabama managing to play out the clock for a final halftime score of 2-0 with the Lions taking the lead in their first game of the season.

The Lions managed their third goal of the game by freshman forward Alice Bussey at the top of the second half following the Lady Toppers managing the offense for the first few minutes. The weather also managed to turn on the Lady Toppers at this moment as rain began to plague the field.

WKU began to play the sidelines with 30 minutes left, leading to an impressive offense from the Lady Toppers as freshman defender Ellie Belcher landed the first goal on the Lions of the game. The assist came from freshman midfielder Brina Micheels from the far side. This is the first goal by WKU in an official game in 458 days.

As the inclement weather took a turn for the worst, Chloe Fell managed a corner field assist following a WKU out-of-bounds shot to bring back the Lions’ three point lead. The tight goal came from freshman forward Mia Staley as she headbutted the ball with less than 15 minutes left in the game.

With a little over five minutes left, the Lions began to play with their prey as they managed to disrupt WKU by passing the ball back and forth to run down the clock once again.

The Lady Toppers attempted to keep their foot slightly on the gas but ended up being no match for North Alabama.

Up next, the Lady Toppers will host Bellarmine on Feb. 11 to open up a three-game homestand at the WKU Soccer Complex running until Feb. 17. 

Soccer beat reporter Sean Snyder can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @seanwsnyder.