Stout’s injury yields opportunity for WKU freshman Barnes

Freshman goalkeeper Katlyn Barnes stops a strike at goal from Evansville during the second half of their game on Friday night at the WKU Soccer Complex. Barnes came in for junior goalkeeper Libby Stout after an injury with 74 minutes left in the game. Barnes didn’t concede a goal, allowing a 4-0 WKU win.

M. Blake Harrison

When junior goalkeeper Libby Stout exited last Friday night’s game with a groin strain, the remaining 74 minutes of action were placed into the hands of Katlyn Barnes.

The game against Evansville – a 4-0 victory for WKU – was the first live action in the redshirt freshman’s career.

Considering the circumstances, Head Coach Jason Neidell said he thought Barnes handled it well.

“I thought Katlyn Barnes came in and did a nice job off the bench,” Neidell said. “It’s a difficult situation to be in.”

Difficult, perhaps, but Barnes was not willing to show if she was fazed.

Barnes fielded all four of the Purple Aces’ shots, earning saves on three of them.

“I was ready to get out there and show what I can do,” Barnes said. “It was good nerves. It was excitement.”

Stepping into a shutout and replacing a starter in Stout, selected to her second consecutive preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team entering the 2010 season, was no easy task. But Stout, whose 22 career shutouts rank atop the program’s all-time leader board, said every goalie hopes to be ready when her number is called.

Since she played right away as a true freshman, Stout said she can imagine what it was like for Barnes.

“You know you’re going to be nervous going into a game, so you’ve basically just got to keep yourself focused and mentally into the game,” Stout said. “I’m proud of her because she was nervous going in, and she did a good job.”

Stout added that she has always tried to keep Barnes confident and that getting the first win of the season was good for the Lady Tops’ morale.

As far as Stout’s injury is concerned, the groin strain is something of a reoccurrence.

Nearly a year to the day, she suffered the same injury in a 3-0 loss to Memphis. She was forced to miss the next two games before returning 12 days later to face Kentucky in the University of Kentucky Tournament.

This time around, Stout pulled it in warm-ups while practicing her long kicks. Stout remained in the game into the 17th minute, but the coaching staff told her they’d rather her rest instead of risking further aggravation.

Though it’s unclear if Stout will be ready for action Friday against Ball State, Barnes said she’s ready because her teammates and coaches already showed faith in her.

“That gave me enough confidence to know I can do it myself,” Barnes said.