Lady Topper Soccer 2021 schedule released

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Credit: WKU Athletics

WKU soccer players huddled up prior to kickoff against Charlotte on Friday, April 9, 2021. 

Drew Toennies, Soccer reporter

WKU Soccer has released its schedule for the upcoming fall 2021 season. The schedule includes 11 events taking place at the WKU Soccer Complex. The Hilltoppers’ slate includes 16 regular season matches and two exhibition matches.

“We’ve built a terrific schedule again this year, welcoming to Bowling Green the likes of Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Rice, and even a cross-division non-conference matchup with UTEP,” head coach Jason Neidell said in a press release. “Conference USA is a fantastic league with quality teams, venues, and great places to visit. Every league game is intense and competitive.”

The Lady Toppers home schedule will include matchups against Power Five programs like Vanderbilt on Aug. 26th and Ole Miss on Sept. 12 as well as an Oct. 12 match against last season’s C-USA champions, Rice. All three teams were competitors in the NCAA Tournament with Ole Miss and Rice making it to the third round.

“It’s a pretty quick turnaround this season, since we just finished playing our championship segment in April due to the pandemic,” Neidell said. “As a result, we’re only playing 16 regular season games, instead of the standard 18-20. C-USA is also sticking with the East-West divisional alignments, which means mostly single game weekends when we get to league play. This will be fantastic for our league, aiding in our periodization and recovery and perhaps giving our conference teams the advantage of being fresher as we head into the NCAA Tournament. We are certainly excited for this season and the future.”

The WKU Soccer program finished last season with an 8-2-2 record, clinching a C-USA East division title with an undefeated 4-0-2 record in conference play. The Lady Toppers advanced to the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament in April.

The last match of the spring season took place on Apr. 15 and the first exhibition match of the fall will be Aug. 7, giving the team 114 days between competitions. A stark difference from the 458 days WKU had to wait between official matches from the 2019 season to the spring of 2021.

WKU will be playing against UT Martin on Aug. 7 for its first exhibition match before heading home to take on Bellarmine on Aug. 15. The Lady Toppers will start their official season with a four-game homestand against Austin Peay on Aug. 19, Union on Aug. 21, Vanderbilt on Aug. 26, and Tennessee Tech on Sept. 3.

Conference play will kick off on the road with a match against Marshall on Sept. 16 followed by a match against Middle Tennessee on Sept. 19. The Lady Toppers will travel to play UAB on Sept. 24 before hosting Rice on Oct. 2 and Old Dominion on Oct. 8. WKU will go on the road to face off against FIU on Oct. 15 before hosting UTEP on Oct. 17 and Florida Atlantic on Oct. 22 to close out the home portion of the schedule. In the final regular season match, the Lady Toppers will face off against Charlotte on Oct. 28.

The C-USA Tournament will be hosted by Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Florida on Nov. 1-7.

WKU’s home matches will be streamed on Facebook Live, except for the exhibition match against Bellarmine and the match against Tennessee Tech on Sept. 3. All streams are dependent on the weather, which means inclement weather in the area could cause stream cancellations.

Soccer reporter Drew Toennies can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @drew_toennies.