WKU soccer to play final home matches over the weekend

Freshman midfielder Hannah Chua battles University of Tennessee’s Colleen Gawkins for possession during the second half of WKU’s Sept. 5 match. The Lady Hilltoppers lost 2-0 to the Lady Volunteers. Brandon Carter/HERALD

John Reecer

WKU soccer will put a close to its 2014-15 home schedule this weekend as it hosts rival Middle Tennessee on Friday at 6 p.m. and UAB on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The matches will mark the end of WKU’s current five-game homestand before the Lady Toppers close out the regular season with road games at L.A. Tech, Southern Miss and North Texas.

MTSU is currently is 6-6-2 on the season and 3-2 in conference play. The Blue Raiders are 3-0-1 in their last four after dropping four straight contests in September.

However, MTSU previously lost to UTSA by a score of 0-3 this season — a squad WKU defeated by a score of 3-1 on Oct. 12.

Freshman forward Peyton McCollum and junior goalie Kelsey Brouwer will look to lead MTSU on offense and defense. The two took home offensive and defensive player of the week accolades this past week.

Another point of emphasis for WKU in the match will be containing junior forward Grace Summers, who leads the Blue Raiders in goals (5) and points (11).  

A potential weakness for the Blue Raiders may be their record on the road as it currently only stands at 2-3-1. The same can also be said of UAB (5-6-2, 2-1-2 Conference USA) since four of their six losses have occurred on the road.

WKU’s match against the Blazers may present many potential problems for the Lady Toppers as they are currently trying to improve their one-on-one defense, which is regularly identified as the team’s Achilles’ heel by Head Coach Jason Neidell.

The defense will need to come ready to play as UAB currently fields a dangerous offense with 23 goals and 64 total points on the season. By comparison, WKU currently has 14 goals and 38 total points.

UAB is also coming off a pair of close matches against conference foes L.A. Tech and FAU, the first being a 2-1 defeat and the latter being a 0-0 tie in double overtime. This weekend will prove to be vital for the Lady Toppers, as they currently sit in ninth place in the Conference USA standings. In order to qualify for the conference tournament, WKU must be ranked within the top eight.