WKU Soccer fighting for postseason spot

Casey Mccarthy

Coming off a strong second half against Texas-San Antonio last Thursday, the Lady Toppers bring a three-match win streak into their final home match tomorrow against Marshall at the WKU Soccer Complex.

WKU (6-8-1, 3-4-1 C-USA) was able to hold the Roadrunners to a 0-0 draw coming into the second half before scoring three themselves, securing a 3-1 victory. Sophomore defender Aleksandra Kozovic opened the scoring for the Lady Toppers on a free kick just minutes into the second half, the first of her collegiate career.

Junior forward Hannah Cady scored her first goal of the season, and first since her freshman season, coming off an assist from senior Hannah Chua, her fourth of the season. Cady’s goal came late in the match Thursday in what quickly became a flurry of goals to end the game.

With Cady’s goal in the 82nd minute lead WKU a 2-0, UTSA (2-13, 1-7 C-USA) put themselves on the board moments later as Jordyn Lacy cut the Lady Topper lead in half with less than five minutes to play.

Sophomore forward Chandler Backes would secure the WKU lead less than a minute later, scoring off a deflection of freshman Deven Jackson’s shot attempt. Backes’ goal was the sixth of the season and the 16th of her young career.

Senior Allison Leone secured four saves in the victory, surrendering her first goal since Oct. 6 against Middle Tennessee State. WKU’s defense held the Thundering Herd to just five shots on goal, as WKU led the match in both shots (10-8) and shots on goal (6-5).

The Lady Toppers’ win last Thursday helps the team as it makes a push towards postseason play in Conference USA. The win puts WKU in a tie with Marshall at 10 points on the season, with WKU holding the slight advantage after the victory. Charlotte and Florida Atlantic sit three points ahead of the Lady Toppers in the final two spots. Both teams, Charlotte and FAU, have one match left to play.

The top eight teams in C-USA, as determined by points will advance to a single-elimination tournament, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Tournament. This season, the tournament is being hosted by Florida Atlantic from Nov. 1-5, in Boca Raton, Florida.

WKU has two matches remaining on its schedule to jump up the standings, including the home finale next Friday, Oct. 27, against Marshall, before closing out the regular season on Sunday, Oct. 29, at Alabama-Birmingham.

WKU will honor its five seniors with a post-match ceremony on Friday. Seniors for the Lady Toppers include Allison Leone, Hannah Chua, Nahyo Jalajel, Shayna Dheel and Bria Mosley.

Marshall will close out its season with the match Friday against WKU. The Thundering Herd are coming off a 3-0 loss against Texas-El Paso last Thursday. Sophomore Jordan Sackaris leads Marshall with five goals and one assist on the season as both teams will be looking to secure a crucial victory.

Closing out the regular season Sunday, the Lady Toppers face off against UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. The Blazers are coming off a 1-0 loss to Louisiana Tech and will face MTSU on Friday before facing WKU on Sunday in their home finale.

Four players have six or more goals on the season for the Blazers, with senior defender Amy Brewer leading the team with nine goals and five assists total on the year.

The Lady Toppers will be looking to close out the regular season on a five-game win streak paired with a little bit of luck to continue playing past the regular season.

Reporter Casey McCarthy can be reached at (270)-929-7795 or [email protected].