Soccer team plays two games at home this weekend

Jonah Phillips

The Lady Topper soccer team has two showcases at home this weekend, and the team is looking for more support from the record-setting crowd that came out for the season-opener against Utah.

While the Lady Toppers fell 2-0 last Friday, coach Jason Neidell said he was pleased with the effort put forth by WKU (0-1) and the progress his team had made through the preseason.

“I thought we played a very good game against a very well-coached, organized team,” Neidell said.  “I think there were a lot of positives to be taken from the game.”

This weekend will prove no easy task for the squad either — WKU is facing opponents from both Conference USA and the Missouri Valley Conference in a three-day span.

Friday will pit the Lady Toppers against an 0-1 Rice team that fell to Stephen F. Austin State in its season-opener after a late second half goal. The Lady Owls tied their preseason game against Texas Christian.

WKU will be back at it again on Sunday against Indiana State. After winning its season-opener against Georgia Southern 2-1, ISU (1-1) fell in a tough 3-0 loss at home to Butler.

Neidell said he looks for what he has seen out of his squad thus far as affirmation to his confidence in his players coming into this weekend.

“If we can continue to put together the types of performances I’ve seen in practices, and I saw glimpses of against Utah, I think we can easily get from point A to point B,” Neidell said.

Freshman striker Iris Dunn — who has seen significant minutes for WKU contests so far this year — is confident in her team. Heading into the games this weekend, she stresses the importance of meshing as a unit and communicating on the field.

“It will only get better,” Dunn said regarding on-field communication. “It’s something we just work at more and more every time we practice.”

Senior defender Torrie Lange, a leader and anchor of the WKU defense, said the team is not only ready for just this weekend, but also ready for this season.

“Ever since our loss in the tournament last November, the soccer coaching staff and our strength and conditioning coach have been preparing us for this season,” Lange said. “Our coaches pushed us, and then pushed us some more. We may be the favorite, but the outcome of the season will ultimately reflect the mentality of our team.”

The Lady Toppers will be in action Friday at 6 p.m. against Rice and Sunday at 1 p.m. against ISU at the WKU Soccer Complex.