This weekend, the Lady Toppers will play outside the WKU Soccer Complex for the first time this season.
The squad has enjoyed a five-game home stretch to open the season, but players said they’re looking forward to seeing how the team can travel against two non-conference opponents.
In their first away match of the season, the Lady Toppers will find themselves in Cullowhee, N.C. for a match against Western Carolina (3-2-0), which has scored seven goals in five games and only allowed four. The Lady Catamounts are currently tied for No. 3 in the Southern Conference.
Just two days later, the Lady Toppers will make the roughly 100-mile trek through the Smokey Mountains from Cullowhee to Knoxville to take on the Lady Volunteers of Tennessee.
Tennessee (5-1-0) is one of the higher-profile teams the Lady Toppers will face this season. Not only are the the Lady Volunteers sitting on a winning record and are tied for third in the SEC with Florida and Georgia, but they also remain unbeaten at home, including a pair of shutouts.
The Lady Volunteers carried their shutout streak with them on the road when they beat Mercer this past Sunday 2-0. Tennessee will face Middle Tennessee State before the game against WKU looking to keep its shutout streak alive.
The Lady Toppers will look to get a spark going offensively — they haven’t scored a goal in 137 minutes.
“Coach said after the (Memphis) game that we need to work on being more dynamic up top,” sophomore forward Laurent Moats said. “If we can do that, then we are going to get more goals in the attacking third.”
Moats holds two of the Lady Toppers’ three goals on the season with the other coming from freshman midfielder Haley Baldridge.
“We usually play with a lot of people in the midfield, so ideally we need to be playing more through the midfield and stringing passes together,” Chrissy Tchoula, Sun Belt Conference preseason Offensive Player of the Year and senior midfielder, said. “We need to be able to string more than four passes together at once in order to be successful.”
It won’t be all offense that the Lady Toppers will rely on — their competition this weekend has combined for 18 goals this season. They will also count on a defense that has only allowed one goal in 138 minutes of play.
“We are going to have to really continue to work on executing what we have been working on tactically,” Torrie Lange, SBC preseason Defensive Player of the Year senior defender, said. “Things have started really falling into place.”