WKU soccer drops second straight C-USA matchup

Christina Bragado (17) kicks the ball against Belmont during their season opener at the WKU Soccer Complex on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019.

Elliott Wells

The WKU soccer team (6-4-1, 2-2 C-USA) suffered its second straight loss of Conference USA play on Sunday afternoon, as visiting Old Dominion (7-3-2, 1-3 C-USA) shutout the Lady Toppers 3-0 and scored two second-half goals in its win at the WKU Soccer Complex.

WKU was shutout for just the third time this season. The Lady Toppers were also shutout earlier in the season to SEC opponents Kentucky (5-5-2, 0-3 SEC) and Mississippi (7-3-2, 0-3 SEC).

Head coach Jason Neidell said his team needs to be better if the Lady Toppers want to compete in C-USA, adding WKU lacked energy on the pitch against ODU.

“We came out really flat,” Neidell said postgame. “We had trouble finding the energy we needed to compete with a really good ODU team. You know, every team in this conference is good. If you don’t come out with your A-game, you’ll put yourself into a position to struggle. We came out flat and lacked energy and ODU took it to us today.”

Only four WKU players produced a shot in Sunday’s loss to the Monarchs. Barnett and junior forward Victoria Mayo led the Lady Toppers with three shots apiece.

Redshirt senior goalkeeper Anne-Marie Ulliac recorded five saves during WKU’s loss to ODU. Ulliac came into Sunday’s match with 0.86 goals against average.

Junior goalkeeper Kasey Perry recorded one save in the Monarchs’ victory.

The Lady Toppers started a new lineup against Old Dominion, as junior forward Ashley Leonard and sophomore Kerragan Mulzer received their first starts of the season.

The Monarchs outshot the Lady Toppers 14-9, and two of ODU’s goals came in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

As Neidell said, WKU lacked energy and the team didn’t provide its same high pressure to the start the game.

The Monarchs struck first at the 39:20 mark of the first half when freshman forward Megan Watts scored her second goal of the season.

In the first half, the Monarchs outshot the Lady Toppers 6-3. ODU was led by freshman forward Ece Turkoglu with three shots. Senior midfielder Kyra Ricks added two first-half shots.

Sophomore midfielder Ambere Barnett led the Lady Toppers in the first half with two shots, one coming on goal.

The Monarchs scored for a second time in the match just four minutes into the second half when junior midfielder Morgan Hall found the back of the net. Hall’s shot came 30-yards from goal.

Hall scored again just six minutes later at the 54:20 mark to increase the Monarchs’ lead to 3-0. Hall led the Monarchs with six shots on the afternoon.

After Hall’s goal, Neidell subbed in seven different WKU players into the lineup and continued to rotate bench players for the remainder of the game.

Following back-to-back losses, the Lady Toppers will continue conference play in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday against Texas-El Paso (7-3-3, 2-1-1 C-USA) and in Miami, Florida, on Sunday against Florida International (2-10, 0-5 C-USA).

Last season, WKU defeated UTEP 4-3 and FIU 4-0 at the WKU Soccer Complex.

Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. on Thursday and noon on Sunday.

Reporter Elliott Wells can be reached at [email protected] Follow Elliott on Twitter at @ewells5.