WOMEN’s SOCCER: Lady Tops split preseason

Beth Wilberding

Severe weather wasn’t enough to keep the women’s soccer team off the field Friday night.

After waiting out a two-hour weather delay and a field change, Western finally played Memphis. But it took 92 minutes to decide the game.

Despite outshooting the Tigers 18-11, the Lady Toppers lost in overtime 1-0 on a goal by Memphis sophomore Nicky McLeod.

The goal came after numerous delays. First a tornado warning, and then lightning postponed the game’s start by nearly two hours. Then the game was moved to Smith Stadium because of field conditions.

“We were so ready to play, (but) we were confused if we’d play or reschedule,” said sophomore midfielder Christi Banas. Though the team lost, Coach Jason Neidell was proud of his team’s effort.

“We played extremely well,” Neidell said. “It was a game we probably deserved to win. We created more opportunities to score than Memphis.”

However, the team didn’t have time to dwell on Friday’s loss because it had less than 12 hours to get ready for Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

Right out of the gate, the Tech game had more offense than the entire Memphis tilt. Tennessee Tech scored two quick goals, but the Lady Toppers quickly fought back and scored four goals by halftime. In the second half, Western added to its lead when freshman Jenna Silverberg scored her first career goal, giving the Lady Toppers a 5-2 win.

Five different players scored goals against Tech while Crystal Chapon and Jocelyn Roach combined for five assists.

Despite the win, the players felt they played better the night before.

“I thought we played better (Friday) night,” Chapon said. “The only difference was we were able to finish (Saturday).”

The preseason games were the first chances the team had to play 11 on 11. Neidell said the games gave the Lady Toppers their first chances to play in real game situations.

“Two or three exhibition games gave us the chance to play with referees and opponents,” Neidell said. ” We can’t create that in practice.”

The exhibitions also gave the team the chance to see what it needs to work on before the regular season.

“(We need) to keep intensity and hard work through the game and be consistent,” Banas said.

The team was originally supposed to play a third exhibition game Monday against Union but it was canceled. Instead, Western played a red-white scrimmage.

The Lady Toppers open the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday against Oklahoma State at the soccer complex.

Reach Beth Wilberding at [email protected]