Hesse lifts Lady Tops to first conference win at Marshall, 1-0

WKU senior midfi elder Allie Auscherman (21) collides with Evansville’s Tatiana Pagan (11) during Sunday’s bout at the WKU Soccer Complex. Nick Wagner/HERALD

John Reecer

WKU soccer, with the help of sophomore midfielder Caitlin Hesse, secured a dramatic 1-0 victory at Marshall on Saturday in the team’s inaugural Conference USA matchup.

Hesse’s goal in the 58th minute proved to be the deciding factor, as she sent the ball flying into the far corner of the goal off a rebound from the right side of the field for her first-career score.

The victory improves WKU’s record to 6-2 on the season with a 1-0 clip in conference play, and it also marks the Lady Toppers’ third consecutive win.

“This is an unbelievable feeling winning our first Conference USA game,” Head Coach Jason Neidell said. “This is such a tough conference in women’s soccer, and to pick up three points on a difficult road test is awesome.”

Freshman goalkeeper Allison Leone pitched another shutout for the Lady Toppers as she made four saves, three of which came in the second half. Leone has now pitched two back-to-back shutouts, increasing her total to five on the season.

Marshall was able to dominate the game in shots, outshooting WKU 20-5. However, three of WKU’s shots were on goal while Marshall fired just four of 20 on target.

Junior forward Lauren Moats led WKU with two shots, one of which was on goal. Sophomore forward Iris Dunn and freshman midfielder Nahyo Jalajel also had attempts.

The WKU defense was able to hold Marshall scoreless despite six corner kicks. While the defense had a very strong showing, the offense struggled with keeping possession, which is a key aspect for Neidell moving forward.

“Our possession wasn’t very good in the first half,” Neidell said. “We have to continue to work on our possession and advancing the ball up the field throughout next week.”

WKU will close out its month-long, five-game road trip at Norfolk, Virginia against conference foe Old Dominion on Friday at 6 p.m. The Lady Toppers will then travel back home to play Charlotte on Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. at the WKU Soccer Complex.