Lady Tops host ODU in regular-season finale

Tyler Mansfield

The WKU women’s soccer team closes out its regular-season with a 6 p.m. matchup against Conference USA foe Old Dominion on Friday evening at the WKU Soccer Complex.

The Lady Toppers (12-5-0 overall, 7-2-0 C-USA) are coming off a 2-0 shutout victory over the University of Texas at San Antonio. In the match, WKU overcame numerous obstacles and was able to find the back of the net twice in the final five minutes of the match to claim the win.

With the check in the win column, the Lady Tops notched their 10th shutout of the year and remained atop the C-USA standings.

Entering this final weekend of league action, WKU sits in second place behind defending conference champion and preseason favorite the University of North Texas, who is 7-1 in C-USA play.

“It’s all about piecing the puzzle together now,” Head Coach Jason Neidell said. “We’re at the point where we’re not thinking about how we are in general, but just taking care of the little details. We’re at the point where we just have to put together simple performances.”

The Monarchs (5-11-0, 3-5-0 C-USA) come into Bowling Green following a 2-1 loss in Denton, Texas, to the Mean Green last Sunday. In the setback, ODU was outshot, 7-1 –– however, its lone shot of the afternoon was also the lone goal it recorded.

Old Dominion, who is currently in eighth place in the C-USA standings, is paced by redshirt junior forward Madison Hogan.

On the year, Hogan has scored four goals nine total points on 24 shots. With that success, the redshirt junior also holds a .167 shot percentage and has been the offensive leader for her group.

On the defensive side of the ball, junior goalkeeper Krista Moisio leads the Monarchs. The experienced net defender has saved 52 shots so far on the season and holds a save percentage of .658 in 1,453:48 minutes played.

“They’re a very good team,” Neidell stated in regards to Old Dominion. “They’re a quality team that is desperate for a win to try and make it into the [C-USA] Tournament. I feel like the last few opponents we have played have been really motivated.”

As for WKU, freshman forward Chandler Backes leads the offensive attack.

Backes, a Carmel, Indiana, native, has scored 10 goals so far on the season, which ranks her first in all of C-USA.

On top of that, the versatile player is second among all Division I freshman in that category, trailing the University of South Florida’s Evelyne Viens by one score.

On the defensive side of things, junior goalkeeper Allison Leone does the net protecting for the Lady Tops.

Leone has made 53 saves for a save percentage of .855 in 1447:40 minutes played. Her high save number ranks her first in the league in that category.

As Friday concludes WKU’s regular-season, it will also be the final time its six seniors will play on the field on Creason Street.

WKU will honor senior midfielders Haley Baldridge and Caitlin Hesse, defenders Makenzie Costner, Iris Dunn, Olivia Fitzgerald and Dee Dee Green prior to the start of the game.

“Well, they’re very represented and are class individuals,” Neidell noted. “I feel that they have taken this program to new heights. They came in here as freshmen and helped us win a title in our final year in the Sun Belt [Conference] and have really been key factors in our transition into Conference USA.”

Following Friday’s contest, the Lady Tops will begin to prepare for the 2016 C-USA Women’s Soccer Tournament, which takes place from Wednesday to Sunday Nov. 2-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Reporter Tyler Mansfield can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMansfield.