WKU soccer nets 7 goals against Alabama A&M

Freshman Defender, Aleksandra Kozovic (31) dribbles the ball away from Morehead State’s Freshman Defender Emily Gunsett (4) during the Lady Toppers’ 2-0 win over the Eagles on Sunday, September 11th. 2016 at WKU Soccer Complex.

Elliott Wells

The WKU soccer team (4-2-1) closed out its non-conference slate with a 7-1 win over Alabama A&M (2-4) at the WKU Soccer Complex on Sunday afternoon.

For the second straight match, WKU tallied 29 shots. The Lady Toppers previously tallied 29 shots in their 3-0 win against Southern Illinois (4-4-1) on Friday night

Every healthy Lady Topper played during WKU’s win against the Bulldogs, as the Lady Toppers had 13 players record at least one shot.

Junior forward Ashley Leonard led the way for the Lady Toppers, as she had five shots, two resulting in goals while coming off the bench. For the sixth time in seven games, sophomore midfielder Ambere Barnett led WKU in shots, with six shots and a goal in a convincing win.

Redshirt senior goalkeeper Anne-Marie Ulliac and freshman goalkeeper Ashley Kobylinski, who played in her first match of the season, combined for three saves against the Bulldogs.

WKU head coach Jason Neidell said he wasn’t thrilled with WKU’s poor shot selection against the Salukis on Friday night. The Lady Toppers had similar trouble with their shot selection in the first half on Sunday, as many of their 16 shots didn’t reach the frame.

“I thought our shot selection wasn’t very good,” Neidell said about his team’s shot selection during the opening half. “Technically, we were leaning back when striking the ball and a lot of balls going over the goal.”

Although WKU didn’t play its best offensively in the first half, three different Lady Toppers stil found the back of the net.

Redshirt junior midfielder Aleksandra Kožović got the scoring started for the Lady Toppers at the 2:00 mark when she beat four Bulldog defenders and scored her first goal as a Lady Topper in style with an upper-90 finish to put WKU up 1-0.

WKU’s second goal of the match came at the 32:09 mark when Leonard scored her third goal of the season to put the Lady Toppers up 2-0.

Leonard’s goal came after redshirt sophomore midfielder Deven Jackson won the ball 35-yards out from goal and found sophomore forward Kerragan Mulzer to the right where she played Leonard in for a one-on-one attempt with Alabama A&M goalkeeper Jodi Medina.

Although Medina and the Bulldogs allowed seven goals on the afternoon, the Coral Springs, Florida, native recorded seven saves against the Lady Toppers.

WKU limited the Bulldogs to only five shots total on the afternoon, with two coming during the first half — both of Alabama A&M’s shots during the fame were on target. 

Alabama A&M scored its only goal of the match at the 33:29 mark of the first half when the Bulldogs were rewarded with a free-kick just in front midfield. 

Senior midfielder Iris Torress’ free-kick deflected in the box and eventually found freshman forward D’Essence Burnett, placing a left-footed shot around Ulliac for her second goal of the season.

The Bulldog defense fell apart in the closing minutes of the first half, as they allowed the Lady Toppers to get behind them and score their third goal of the match.

This time, Multzer assisted her second goal of the match, as she connected with freshman forward Katie Erwin on the back post. Erwin tucked away her first goal as a Lady Topper at 43:19 mark to give WKU a 3-1 lead minutes before the break.

At the end of the first half, WKU had four players with at least two or more shots. Barnett and Leonard both recorded three shots, while freshman forward Ansley Cate and Jackson both attempted two shots.

Neidell thought his team came out with a better approach offensively in the second half. 

“In the second half, I thought our shot selection was much better,” Neidell said postgame. “I thought we were getting into more dangerous areas to create chances and I was really, really excited to see that we had eight shots on goal in the second half when we only had four in the first half.”

WKU struck once more during the critical five of the second half, as Barnett gave WKU a 4-1 lead and put the game out of reach at the 50:24 mark. 

The Lady Toppers scored their fifth goal of the match just nine minutes later, when Cate put her shot to right-net for her third goal of the season.

Leonard scored once more at the 67:59 mark, giving the Lady Toppers a commanding 6-1 lead. 

Sophomore defender Lyric Schmidt and freshman forward Taylor Stanley were rewarded with their first assists of the season on Leonard’s goal.

Stanley ended WKU’s scoring on the afternoon with a goal of her own at 79:42 mark. Erwin and senior forward were rewarded on Stanley’s goal, which gave WKU a 7-1 advantage.

WKU will begin Conference USA play next Saturday against Southern Mississippi (4-3) at the WKU Soccer Complex. Last season, Southern Miss defeated the Lady Toppers 1-0 in overtime.

Reporter Elliott Wells can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow Elliott on Twitter at @ewells5.