WOMEN’S SOCCER: Lady Tops look to get back on track after season ending loss

Jay Lively

The Lady Toppers head into tomorrow’s action in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament hoping the misfortune they’ve experienced won’t follow them.

Western (9-8, 3-4 SBC), plagued by injuries, lost each of its three previous games by one goal, games that could have gone the other way.

Despite putting on a solid performance in their last regular season match on Saturday, the Lady Toppers fell 2-1 against Murray State.

“We totally dominated the game against Murray,” coach Jason Neidell said. “We did everything we needed to do to win. The ball just didn’t bounce our way.

“We’ve been saving up our luck the past three weeks. I’ve got a bag of it we’re going to use in the tournament.”

After starting the season 9-3, Western has dropped five of its last six games as it heads into the postseason. The Lady Toppers have been in a position to win most of those games but were hurt by missed opportunities.

On Saturday, sophomore forward Allison Nellis scored her team-leading ninth goal of the season at the 28-minute mark to put the Lady Toppers up 1-0 in the first half.

But Murray State forward Theresa Reedy tied the game six minutes later with her eighth goal of the year.

In a defensive stalemate, neither team struck again until Murray’s Jaimie Roche scored off a corner kick five minutes before regulation ended, putting the Lady Racers up 2-1 for the final score.

“This wasn’t a loss that we left with our heads low,” Nellis said. “We played really hard.”

Western will start tournament action tomorrow in Mobile, Ala., taking on Louisiana-Lafayette, a team that beat them in overtime two weeks ago.

“That’s fine. They can win the regular season game,” Nellis said. “But we plan to come out and beat them in the tournament.”

Despite coming in as a No. 5 seed, Neidell likes his team’s chances in the tournament. If Western wins tomorrow, it will meet the winner of the Arkansas State-Denver game.

But the Lady Toppers know better than to look past the Lady Cajuns. And they’re looking forward to a chance to end Lafayette’s season.

“It’s nice to get back on the field and play against a team we just lost to,” sophomore defender Erika Baker said. “We’re going to use that revenge factor. We have something to prove.”