WKU beats Arkansas State in tourney opener

Natalie Hayden

For the second time this year, the Lady Toppers defeated Arkansas State Wednesday.

The Lady Toppers defeated the Red Wolves 1-0 in September to open conference play, and overtook them Wednesday afternoon 1-0 to advance to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Mobile, Ala.

“We knew from our previous game with Arkansas State that they were going to be one heck of a team,” coach Jason Neidell said.

The goal came in the 76th minute when senior forward Amanda Buechel headed the ball in the net. The ball came after a header from senior defender Ali Stahlke, who received it on a corner kick from junior Kelsey Burnette.

“Kelsey crossed a great ball to the far post and Ali did a great job of keeping the play alive and hit it back across the goal,” Buechel said. “I just reframed the goal and was there for the header.

Buechel was named second-team All-Sun Belt earlier this week and is among the league’s top scorers, with nine goals throughout the regular season.

“ASU made it difficult on us and we just knew going into the second half that we would have to grind it out and hopefully something good would come of it, and eventually it happened for us,” Neidell said.

WKU would have liked to score a second goal to secure the game, but had to focus on defense and couldn’t send too many girls up to help, Neidell said.

The Lady Toppers will face North Texas Friday night at 4 p.m. in Mobile, Ala., in the tournament semifinals. The Lady Toppers defeated North Texas earlier this season 2-0.