Lady Tops end season with loss to FIU in SBC final

Senior goal keeper Libby Stout is comforted by her teammates Saturday after FIU scored a game-winning penalty kick, giving the Golden Panthers the Sun Belt Championship.

Austin Lanter

Despite not allowing a goal in the

Sun Belt Conference tournament, the Lady Toppers returned home with

a second place finish.

For the third straight season, WKU

lost in the tournament off penalty kicks. This year it was Florida

International that sent the Lady Toppers packing after winning the

shootout 4-3 to claim the championship and an automatic berth to

the NCAA tournament.

“We played the game as two halves,”

Head Coach Jason Neidell said. “We were talking about the first 45

minutes being its own game, the second 45 being its own game. We

didn’t play well in the first half, but we were tied 0-0. We had a

fresh start, a new game in front of us.”

WKU ended the season with an overall

record of 13-6-3 and an appearance in the Sun Belt title game for

only the second time in program history.

FIU held WKU to zero shots in the

first half, but the second half told a different story. The Lady

Toppers outshot their opponents 13 to two in the half and 19 to

eight for the game. 

Neidell said the Lady Toppers played

a tremendous second half, claiming that the team was


“I’m really, really proud of our

team,” he said. “We played our best soccer of the season when it

mattered most, which was during the second half and overtime. We

can’t ask for anything more. We put it all out there and just came

up short.”

Four Lady Toppers were named to the

All-Tournament team after the match — senior goalkeeper Libby

Stout, senior forward Mallory Outerbridge, senior midfielder Kelsey

Meyer and junior defender Ali Stahlke.

Having played her last game in a WKU

uniform, Stout said her career here has meant “everything” to


“My best friends are on the team,”

she said. “The coaches have been amazing. They brought me here to

this school. It’s been a great ride. It would’ve been great to go

out with a ring on my finger, but you take what you


Stout said she really enjoyed how

the team came together this year, and how they made it about the

team and not individuals.

“We kind of started off as a team

just getting to know each other,” she said. “We didn’t play the

best at the beginning, but we gradually got better and better. Our

best soccer was this game right here.”

For senior midfielder Lindsay

Williams, this season was a dream.

“We really played well and our goal was to improve as

the season went along,” she said. “We definitely had our ups and

downs along the way, but the overall trend was improved playing.

This season is something to be proud of.”

It was also a dream come true

for her to even play soccer at the collegiate level.

“It was my dream since I was a

little girl to play Division I college soccer,” she said. “I just

appreciate so much the chance I got from the coaching staff and for

them seeing something in me and believing in me.”