Lady Toppers fall in final non-conference game

WKU forward Chandler Backes (5) heads the ball as she is defended by Evansville midfielder Maggie Leazer (18) during the Lady Topper’s game against University of Evansville on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017 at WKU Soccer Complex.

Tyler Eaton

For the second consecutive game, the Lady Toppers soccer team (3-4) dropped a 1-0 decision at home, this time to the Samford Lady Bulldogs (2-5-1) on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 10, at the WKU Soccer Complex. 

Very similarly to the Friday night tilt against Vandy, WKU gave up an early sixth minute header off of a corner. The goal, Jermaine Seoposenwe’s fifth on the year, proved to be the deciding one in a highly physical affair. 

“Obviously, we didn’t play very well in the first half,” coach Jason Neidell said following the game. “ 

The Lady Toppers continued what has become a trend of starting slow, being outshot nine to two by Samford in the first half. Despite this, WKU nearly drew even in the 15th minute when a shot from sophomore forward Chandler Backes went just wide of a goal. 

In what was a tale of two halves, the Lady Toppers ramped up the attack in the last 45 minutes, getting off four shots, but still they were out shot by the Lady Bulldogs, who got off seven. 

In the 61st minute, a great scoring opportunity was presented as the ball was crossed into the box to Backes, who had a defender isolated one on one for the airball. Both players went down, and, despite their being a lot of contact between the two, no foul was called. 

Coach Neidell was visibly upset with the work of the referees throughout the game, ultimately resulting in him getting a yellow card 5 minutes into the second half. 

“Sometimes a coach, instead of venting your frustration towards your players, sometimes you vent in other ways,” coach Neidell said regarding the yellow card. “Maybe it helps them and kind of motivates them to get them going.” 

Neidell ended his answer to that question by conveying a similar message to Friday’s interview, noting the improvement from half to half. 

“We played much better in the second half than in the first half,” coach Neidell said. “But, again, we did that on Friday and it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough again today.” 

The Lady Toppers created numerous opportunities to draw even, but the best of these came in the final minutes as Chandler Backes put a brilliant shot on goal that was stopped on diving save by Lady Bulldogs goalkeeper Anna Maddox. 

Lady Toppers senior goalkeeper Allison Leone had a fantastic game herself, finishing with 7 saves on the 8 shots Samford put on goal. 

With this 4 game homestand over, the Lady Toppers have wrapped up non-conference play at 3-4. Looking ahead, WKU will begin conference play on the road at Old Dominion (2-2-2) on Friday, Sept. 15, at 6:00 p.m. 

Following last year’s 7-3 record in Conference USA play, hopes are high that the Lady Toppers can replicate that success, but it won’t come easy. 

 “We’ve got to get back to work in practice and work on some things to prepare for ODU this weekend,”coach Neidell said. “It’s about being technically proficient and executing when we’re in that final part of the field.”