Lady Topper soccer team closing home stand this week

Jonah Phillips

The Lady Toppers will finish off their lengthy season-opening home slate this week looking for a couple of wins before starting a three-game road spell.

WKU (1-1-1) will host Austin Peay (3-0) of the Ohio Valley Conference Thursday and the American Athletics Conference’s Memphis (3-1) Thursday. Both games will be played at the WKU Soccer Complex.

Thursday will pit the Lady Toppers against an undefeated Lady Governers squad that is perched in first place of the OVC rankings. Austin Peay has outscored its first three opponents 9-1 thus year.

This will be the Lady Topper’s first game against Austin Peay at home since 2006. WKU has never lost a game against Austin Peay in the program’s 12-year history.

“We definitely will be working on our mentality — being stronger and better than the other team mentally,” freshman midfielder Haley Baldridge said of the team’s preparation moving into the weekend.

Topping Memphis will be no easy task, either. The Lady Tigers are 3-1, with their only loss coming in a 2-1 game against Vanderbilt.

Coach Jason Neidell said he looks at this weekend not only as WKU’s last stretch of home games before going on the road for three matches, but more as an opportunity to establish, showcase, and maintain an identity as a team.

“One of the things we have been talking about early on as a team is creating an identity as not only an extremely hard working team, but also a team that can go work their tail off and still find a rhythm in the game,” Neidell said.

Freshman midfielder Caitlin Hesse said the Lady Toppers are trying to improve their effort to form an identity like their coach wants.

“We are really working on our mentality, and just giving everything we’ve got the entire game, not just in pieces,” Hesse said. “We still aren’t doing that as best as we can.”

Thursday’s game will begin at 7 p.m. while Sunday’s contest will start at 1 p.m.