WKU looking for first win in nearly a month

WKU goal keeper Allison Leone watches the ball during WKU’s game verses Vanderbilt on Friday Sept. 8, 2017 at the WKU Soccer Complex.

Casey Mccarthy

The Lady Topper soccer team will be looking to secure its first conference win Thursday night, Sept. 28, when it welcomes Rice to Bowling Green in WKU’s home conference opener.

WKU (3-5-1, 0-1-1 C-USA) is coming off a two-game road stretch, with both matches going to double overtime. The Lady Toppers will look to ride their defensive effort from last Thursday’s scoreless draw with Southern Mississippi to a victory.

Senior Allison Leone and sophomore Christina Bragado were named Conference USA Goalkeeper and Defensive Player of the week, respectively. Leone secured the honor for the third time in her career, the most of any goalkeeper in program history, and tied with Amanda Buechel for most among all WKU players.

Leone earned her 25th career shutout against the Lady Eagles last Thursday, her third of the season, dropping her goals against average to 0.86 goals on average, fourth-best in the conference.

Leone secured seven saves in the match, her third game with seven or more saves this season. The Kennesaw, Georgia, native has 44 saves on the season.

Bragado has helped anchor a Lady Topper back line that has secured just three goals in the last 410 minutes of play, and only eight goals in nine matches this season. Bragado played all 110 minutes in the draw against Southern Miss, and has started every game for the Lady Toppers at center back.

This is Bragado’s first time receiving the award.

The Lady Toppers were able to hold the Golden Eagles well below their season averages on shots, surrounding just 14 shots, seven on target, compared to 20.4 shots and 10.3 on goal for the season.

WKU lost the first of its two road games in heartbreaking fashion on Sept. 15, relenting the go ahead goal in the 105th minute of double overtime. WKU was outshot 21-9 on the night and was unable to keep up what was otherwise a stalwart defensive performance.

WKU soccer secured its first ever win against Rice last season, winning the match 1-0 in Houston. Rice (5-2-1, 2-0-0) is led by senior midfielder, Samantha Chaiken, who leads the Owls with shots (29) and shots on goal (12).

Chaiken was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in as many weeks. Chaiken helped lead the Owls to victory against Louisiana Tech last Thursday, scoring a goal and assisting on another. The Owls are 0-2 on the road this season.

Sophomore Chandler Backes continues to lead WKU in both shots (19) and goals (4). Senior midfielder Hannah Chua and redshirt junior Sarah Gorham have helped spark the Lady Topper’s attack this season as well, each with 17 shots this season.

WKU will remain at home when it faces North Texas (5-2-2, 1-0-1) on Sunday at the WKU Soccer Complex. The Mean Green have not lost since Aug. 27 against Texas. North Texas’ match against LA Tech ended in a 1-1 on Sept. 24. Freshman forward Berklee Peters leads the Mean Green with five goals on the season.

WKU is looking for its first win since Sept. 3 against Evansville, after going (0-3-1) in their last four matches.

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