WKU soccer home again, looking to halt losing skid

Austin Lanter

Coming home couldn’t happen soon enough for the WKU soccer team. 

The Lady Toppers (5-5, 0-2) are currently on a three-game losing streak with all three of those losses coming on the road.

But WKU’s home field has been kind. The Lady Toppers boast a 4-1 record at the WKU Soccer Complex with their only loss coming to nationally ranked Memphis.

“We’ve played some good teams on the road,” Head Coach Jason Neidell said. “We’ve played Vanderbilt, Rice, North Texas and Denver on the road. Those are four of the best teams on our schedule. 

“I think the quality of the opponent has something to do with it. And obviously that road trip to North Texas and Denver is among the toughest for any Division I team in soccer.”

Senior forward Amanda Buechel is looking forward to getting back home and into a routine again.

The Lady Toppers host Arkansas-Little Rock at 6 p.m. Friday and Arkansas State at 1 p.m. Sunday at the WKU Soccer Complex.

“I think it’s just mental things,” she said. “It’s different when you’re on the road. It’s a lot of traveling and stuff and you’ve got to get out of the funk. Here, we’re doing our normal daily routine and we just get out there and get after it.”

Buechel said she thought the team was prepared for the road games, but they weren’t bringing their best out there. She added that there were “tiny moments” when the Lady Toppers weren’t “awake” or being consistent enough.

The Lady Toppers have averaged two goals per match when playing at home, but less than one when playing on the road. They have also allowed 10 goals on the road compared to three at home.

“Our attacking play hasn’t been very productive (recently),” Neidell said. “You have to get shots and you have to create chances to score in the game of soccer. Against Rice a few weeks back we had enough chances, but this past weekend we certainly didn’t have enough chances to win soccer games.”

With four home matches over the next two weekends, senior midfielder Kelsey Meyer said the team has an opportunity to gain some momentum that it hopes to carry for the rest of the season.

“I’m not trying to make excuses, but it’s hard to go and play somewhere else,” Meyer said. “Just getting these wins this weekend at home will be good for us and we’ll just carry that throughout the rest of the road games this year.”

Being focused and staying consistent throughout the matches will be the key for this weekend, according to Meyer.

Buechel agreed with that notion.

“We need to show up for each game and get the result and put some in the back of the net,” Buechel said. “It’s just going to be a lot of hard work — getting in tackles and getting in energy to get us a win.” 

Despite the three-game losing streak, Neidell is pleased with the way his team responded in the Denver game after a poor performance against North Texas two days earlier.

“I like the way our kids are keeping their heads up and keep battling,” he said. “Good things will come to people who keep working hard.”