Lady Tops fall to Marshall with two late goals from Herd

WKU’s defender Chandler Clark (31) goes for a header during the Lady Topper’s 3-1 win over University of Tennessee – Martin in the season opener Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, at the WKU Soccer Complex in Bowling Green, Ky.

Hunter Frint

WKU and Marshall faced off Friday night in a game that looked as though it would end scoreless until the Lady Tops gave up two goals in the last 10 minutes of play to fall to the Thundering Herd.

The Lady Toppers and the Herd came into the match tied for third place with 4-2-2 records in Conference USA, and the loss to Marshall has left Head Coach Jason Neidell with conflicted feelings.

“I have very mixed emotions about tonight’s game,” Neidell said. “I’m really proud of our team and the way that we played from the 18 to the 18.”

WKU outshot Marshall 15-10 in the match, but each team managed only three shots each on goal.

While the Lady Tops’ attacking play has been sharper this season than it was on Friday, Neidell was very impressed with his team’s buildup play and their ability to move the ball around the field and stretch the opposition.

“I told the girls that that’s one of the best performances as far as moving the ball around that we’ve had here in the 15 years I’ve been the coach, so I was really happy about that,” Neidell said.

With his team looking sharp on the ball in the midfield and the game still scoreless at the 80th minute, the win seemed up for grabs, or at least up for overtime, which would have been WKU’s seventh overtime contest.

But Marshall’s freshman forward Ashley Seltzer scored in the 81st minute from about 10 yards off a rebounded shot.

Just three minutes later, Marshall struck again through junior forward Sydney Arnold, assisted by Seltzer, to seal the victory.

Arnold was sent in on goal by Seltzer, who had scored just minutes earlier, and fired a shot that was palmed away by Lady Topper goalkeeper Allison Leone. However, the ball landed back at Arnold’s feet, and she netted her second attempt.

Junior midfielder Caitlin Hesse led WKU in shots on the night with four, two of which were on frame. Sophomore midfielder Hannah Chua, senior forward Lauren Moats, junior forward Iris Dunn and freshman forward Hannah Cady added two shots each during the game.

“I mean, we played really, really well as far as passing the ball around,” Neidell said. “We played as well as we can, but there’s another part to the game: the ability to create chances in the danger area — put them in the back of net and keep the opponent from doing the same. Tonight we weren’t able to do that.”

The loss drops the Lady Toppers to 8-5-4 on the season and 4-3-2 in C-USA. Marshall increases to 12-3-3 on the season and 5-2-2 in conference play.

This game breaks the tie for third in conference standings. Marshall moves up to No. 2, and WKU falls to tie for No. 7 with the University of Texas, El Paso.

“I thought [the Herd] were chasing the game quite a bit,” said Neidell “I felt like we had the run of play, and they kind of scored against the run of play, but then again, that’s the game of soccer sometimes.”

The regular season will end for WKU this Thursday at the WKU Soccer Complex as the team takes on Florida Atlantic at 7:00 p.m.