Lady Toppers open fall season with 2-0 shutout of Austin Peay

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Credit: WKU Athletics

Junior forward Katie Erwin keeps the ball away from a defender during the Hilltoppers’ season opener against Austin Peay on Aug. 19, 2021. Erwin would score a goal and provide an assist during the match.

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

Soccer season has begun again on the Hill. The Lady Toppers picked up their first win of the season in their home opener against the Austin Peay Governors on Thursday night, shutting out their Ohio Valley Conference opponent 2-0 at the WKU Soccer Complex.

WKU dropped the opener of its 2020-21 season by a score of 4-1 to North Alabama back in February and the team wanted to start the fall season off on the right foot.

“Last season, we had our first loss in our first game,” senior defender Lyric Schmidt said after the match. “So this game was really important, it was a huge game and I thought we stepped up and this is going to set the standard for the season.”

The Lady Toppers maintained possession for most of the first half, recording 14 shots and allowing the Governors just two opportunities. Six of WKU’s shots were on goal and the Hilltoppers were able to take five corner kicks.

Schmidt took WKU’s penalty kick at the 34:51 mark, but Austin Peay keeper Peyton Powell made a diving stop to keep both sides scoreless. 

The Lady Toppers pulled ahead early in the second half when forward Katie Erwin scored the first Hilltopper goal of the season just past the 50th minute. WKU added another goal for insurance less than four minutes later thanks to an on-target shot from midfielder Annah Hopkins that was assisted by Erwin. 

“Being able to get the win in our first game, that’s huge in our mindset and our confidence with this new team that we brought in,” Erwin shared after the game.

The Lady Toppers held on to their lead to shut out the Governors, outshooting Austin Peay 23-2, allowing zero shots on goal and taking eight corner kicks.

“We did a good job defensively tonight, I think there were a couple times we gave up some corners that looked like they were going to be really dangerous,” head coach Jason Neidell said. “One time in particular we didn’t re-mark very well in the box, so we got to clean some of that stuff up but obviously it’s early in the season.”

The Hilltoppers’ season continues on Saturday, Aug. 21 with another home game, this time against Union University (Tenn.) with first kick coming at 7 p.m. CT.

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.