Outerbridge ‘puts team on shoulders,’ leads Lady Toppers over weekend

Redshirt senior forward Mallory Outerbridge celebrates her first of two goals against Eastern Michigan on Sunday afternoon. WKU won 2-0.

Austin Lanter

Senior forward Mallory Outerbridge said she wasn’t happy with how she played at times this weekend. Her four goals and an assist, however, told a different story.

“I wasn’t pleased with my own performance in the first half of (Sunday’s) match,” Outerbridge said. “Friday’s match was good, and the second half of this game was good. The first half was really sloppy.”

Outerbridge scored two of her four goals in the second half of Sunday’s match against Eastern Michigan, leading the Lady Toppers to a 2-0 victory and improving their record to 5-2. 

All the while, Outerbridge passed Jenna Silverburg for the career points record with 74.

The first goal on Sunday came off a header after a cross by senior forward Kaylyn Pratt 12 minutes into the second half. Then, with 12 minutes left in the game, senior midfielder Kelsey Meyer passed the ball to Outerbridge who beat the keeper in a one-on-one situation.

“If the passes aren’t there, I won’t be scoring, so I give credit to the rest of the team,” Outerbridge said. “Kelsey and Kaylyn both made amazing passes today. The credit goes to them.”

Not surprisingly, Head Coach Jason Neidell was impressed with Outerbridge’s play this weekend, saying that she played two matches when she looked like a more complete player.

“We keep telling her that we want her to complete her game,” he said. “We wanted her to be a complete player on both sides of the ball. This weekend she put in a pretty good performance both attacking and defensively. 

“She is on her way to doing the things we want her to do on a consistent basis.”

Neidell added that Outerbridge “put the team on her shoulders” this weekend and led them to victory in both games.
“She’s such a talented player, and she can really be a difference maker,” he said. “We know she can be a difference maker and we know that she can score goals like she does. We keep trying to convince her that it opens up more opportunities for her to score goals when she’s working on both sides of the ball.”
Neidell said the Lady Toppers looked a bit “sluggish” in the first half of Sunday’s game,but saw improvement in the second half. 
After only four shots in the first half, WKU was able to fire off 12 in the second — three of which came from Outerbridge.
“We talked before the game about attacking the end line more,” Neidell said. “We weren’t very effective in the first half so we stressed that again in the second half. We also talked about physical effort. The first half was the first time that I thought we didn’t put the effort in required to win the game.”
That’s when Outerbridge became a leader.
Junior defender Ali Stahlke  said Outerbridge stepped up on Sunday when the team as a whole wasn’t playing well.
“She gets it done when you need it the most,” she said. “We obviously didn’t play very well, and she stepped up and finished what she could. She’s just been playing awesome and getting in the box and scoring goals and being where she needs to be.”
WKU will play Rice on Saturday in their final match before conference play begins.