WKU soccer season begins Saturday, Lady Toppers ready to play

WKU soccer head coach Jason Neidell fielding questions on a Zoom press conference on Jan. 21, 2021 ahead of the spring season. 

Sean Snyder

WKU Soccer held their first press conference of the season Thursday to discuss the upcoming slate, the condition of the team and their hunger to get back on the field.

“It’s hard to put into words how excited we are,” senior captain Avery Jacobsen said. “We’ve been building up this moment since last July. We’re very excited to play someone other than ourselves.”

The 2021 season schedule was announced on Tuesday this week and follows the abrupt cancelation of the 2020 spring slate. The last time the team was able to play was an exhibition match was Oct. 23, 2020 against Alabama-Birmingham.

“We have a lot of returning starters this year which is extremely exciting for us,” Jacobsen said. “All the new pieces we added are college ready and just as hungry so I think bringing home that C-USA trophy.”

Neidell said WKU will also be without seniors Victoria Mayo and Ashley Leonard this spring. 

“Soccer didn’t work out with what they were trying to do academically,” Neidell said.

The prized C-USA trophy could be insight for the Lady Toppers since their 2019 season ended. The Lady Toppers posted a 6-4-0 in conference play and went 10-7-1 overall in 2019. 

“It was tough in the fall because you want to play against other people and grow that way,” junior Ambere Barnett said. “Everyone is coming back fit and ready to play. Everyone is super excited to just get back together.”

Ahead of the spring season Neidell has regrouped adding seven freshmen to his 2025 class. 

“There were so many hoops our recruits had to jump through,” head coach Jason Neidell said. “We were really concerned with only having two goalkeepers in the middle of a pandemic. If one had an injury or got sick and the other had to quarantine we’d potentially lose both our goal keepers.” 

WKU will have a task of being ready to hold down the net while having their wall of defenders maintain their ground. 

When the Lady Toppers take the field Saturday it will have been 92 days since their last game. 

“We’re all pretty fired up for this season,” Neidell said. “The pandemic’s been horrible but it shows you the things you should be grateful for. The opportunity to play was taken away from us so the whole team’s attitude can be described as blessed and grateful.”

WKU travels to Louisville to play at Bellarmine with a 12 p.m. kickoff. 

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