Lady Tops fall to ODU in regular-season finale

Junior forward Shayna Dheel (19) attempts to block Old Dominion University’s Maddie Morningstar’s (17) pass during the Lady Toppers’ 1-0 loss against ODU on Friday, Oct. 28, at the WKU Soccer Complex. Tyger Williams/HERALD

Tyler Mansfield

An early goal from visiting Old Dominion University dealt the WKU women’s soccer team a 1-0 loss in its regular-season finale on Friday, Oct. 28, at the WKU Soccer Complex.

As it was their last home match of the year, it would mark the final time the Lady Toppers’ six seniors would play on the field located on Creason Street, as the program honored forwards Olivia Fitzgerald and Iris Dunn, defenders Makenzie Costner and Dee Dee Green, and midfielders Caitlin Hesse and Haley Baldridge with a Senior Night ceremony prior to kickoff.

Following the setback to the Monarchs, WKU Head Coach Jason Neidell said the group of seniors he has this year have meant a lot to the program.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “You know, I told the seniors yesterday that there’s only a few classes in the history of this program that have made the kind of impact that they have and they’ve been unbelievable. They’re classy individuals and they’ve taken this program to new heights on the soccer field. I can’t say enough how proud I am of them.”

Redshirt sophomore midfielder Sarah Gorham and junior forward Bria Mosley led the Lady Tops (12-6-0 overall, 7-3-0 Conference USA) with two shots each on the night while sophomore midfielder Nicole Roseland recorded WKU’s lone shot on goal off a free kick in the opening half of play.

In goal for the Lady Toppers, junior goalkeeper Allison Leone saw action in the full 90 minutes, making three saves while giving up the eventual match-winning ODU goal.

“I just didn’t think we had a good performance tonight,” Neidell stated. “Credit ODU –– they’re certainly a good team. But we’re gonna have to play better if we want any chance in this [C-USA tournament] next week.”

Both sides found numerous offensive chances over the first 10 minutes of the match, but neither could register a shot on goal.

Gorham had a shot that went high while Hesse had one blocked by an ODU defender while the Monarchs’ senior midfielder Grace Haverly’s first shot was blocked, as well.

At the 12:18 mark of the contest, sophomore forward Iris Achterhof broke the early deadlock and gave Old Dominion a 1-0 lead over the Lady Tops.

After collecting a loose ball from 30 yards out, the forward sent a high strike toward the center of the goal, beating Leone, who attempted to make the save.

WKU nearly evened the scoreboard with a goal of its own just four minutes following the Monarchs’ goal on Roseland’s free kick service.

The sophomore struck the ball well and forced ODU’s junior goalkeeper Krista Moisio to stretch and make the save to prevent the shot from going through the back of the net.

The Lady Tops had possibly their best chance of the affair on Mosley’s header in the 56th minute. Played in from the left side, the forward went up and connected with the ball with her head, but her attempt went just left of the post as WKU couldn’t find an equalizer.

“It’s a wake-up call –– we haven’t played well for a couple of weeks,” Neidell noted. “We’ve snuck by with wins. We’ve gotta go back to the drawing boards and correct some stuff that is crucial to our game to get us ready for the tournament this next week.”

WKU now awaits its seeding for next week’s C-USA tournament, which takes place in Charlotte, North Carolina, as it is hosted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers.

The quarterfinal matches will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 2, followed by the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 4, and the championship match on Sunday, Nov. 6.

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