The WKU soccer team (6-3-2, 2-1 C-USA) had its four-game winning streak snapped on Thursday night against Charlotte (7-3, 2-1 C-USA), as freshman forward Julia Patrum scored an overtime goal in the 96th minute to lift the 49ers past the Lady Toppers 3-2 at the WKU Soccer Complex.
Thursday night’s contest marked the third straight Conference USA game in which the Lady Toppers played into overtime.
Head coach Jason Neidell gave Charlotte full credit after WKU suffered its first C-USA loss of the season.
“They had a really good game plan,” Neidell said postgame. “They’re a really good team. We were having trouble with their attacking transition the entire night. They sent players flying forward so fast, it was catching us and we tried making adjustments at halftime. They worked for a little while and they didn’t work a little bit. So, credit Charlotte. It stings, but credit Charlotte. They’re a good team. They came in with a good game plan and executed their game plan.”
The Lady Toppers didn’t take long to get on the scoresheet, as sophomore midfielder Ambere Barnett scored just 2:10 after play began.
The buildup started when junior defender Avery Jacobsen played Barnett a long ball from just behind midfield. Barnett found the ball just outside the box and put her right-footed shot around Charlotte goalkeeper Abby Stapleton.
Barnett’s goal marked her fifth of the season and WKU’s 600th goal in program history.
Despite Charlotte allowing an early goal to start the match, the 49ers played an even first half with the Lady Toppers.
WKU outshot Charlotte 6-5 in the first half, but the Lady Toppers had to weather a few storms throughout the first half.
Senior forward Megan Greene led the 49ers in the first half with two shots, both coming on goal.
Only Barnett and redshirt sophomore midfielder Deven Jackson had shots on goal in the first for WKU. Barnett went into halftime with four shots and goal, while Jackson had two.
In the second half, Charlotte evened the score at 1-1 at the 58:26 mark when sophomore forward Haley Shand scored with her right foot just outside the box. Shand’s goal was her first goal of the season.
WKU fought back and regained the lead just nine minutes later when junior forward Ashley Leonard netted in a penalty kick goal.
Leonard scored on a penalty kick for the second straight contest, as she netted a game-winning penalty kick against Louisiana Tech on Sunday.
Leonard’s penalty kick came after redshirt freshman Lucy Lyon was fouled in the box at the 67:00 mark. WKU went up 2-1 with 23 minutes left in the game.
The 49ers struck again at the 76:57 mark when junior midfielder Brianna Morris found Patrum running across the six for a tap-in goal that knotted the score at 2-2, a score that lasted until the end of regulation.
The match would go into overtime, where Patrum found the back of the net for the second time of the night and scored the game-winner at the 95:33 mark.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Anne-Marie Ulliac recorded six saves on the night, allowing just her second three-goal match of the season.
Following the loss, WKU will continue C-USA play on Sunday when they welcome Old Dominion (6-3-2, 0-3 C-USA) to the WKU Soccer Complex for the final match of its program-record seven-game home stand.
ODU fell to Marshall (4-8, 2-2 C-USA) by a 3-2 score in the 103rd minute of double overtime on Thursday night.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Reporter Elliott Wells can be reached at [email protected] Follow Elliott on Twitter at @ewells5.