Lady Toppers shut out Union University, equal best start since 2016

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Credit: WKU Athletics/Gunnar Word

Junior forward Katie Erwin lines up a kick during her five-point performance against Union University on Aug. 21, 2021 at the WKU Soccer complex.

Drew Toennies, Soccer reporter

The Lady Toppers (2-0-0) shut out the DII Union University Lady Bulldogs (0-1-0) by a score 0f 3-0 at the WKU Soccer Complex on a rainy Saturday night in the second match of WKU’s season-opening homestand. The victory marked the first time since 2016 that the Lady Toppers have begun a season with a pair of wins and was also the squad’s eighth home victory in a row.

“I feel like we’ve built a pretty good base,” head coach Jason Neidell shared after the match. “Obviously, we’re demonstrating right now that this team is going to be a really solid team defensively. We’ve played four games now, we’ve had four shut outs, so I’m really happy for the defensive effort.”

Defender Mackenzie Crittenberger struck for the home team’s first goal of the night just past the 25th minute off of a corner kick. Midfielder Briana Sayoc scored the second goal of the night at the 58:13 mark and forward Katie Erwin landed the final goal, her second of the season, at 63:38.

“I think [the goal] was coming, kind of since the start of the game, just didn’t have many touches on the ball,” Crittenberger said. “We started off strong but our final pass needed some work, and had a lot of corners so that was good.”

Erwin has broken out as the early offensive star for the Lady Toppers, holding a pair of goals and three assists to her name in her team’s first two regular-season contests and contributing five points against the Lady Bulldogs.

“One of the things that we really pride ourselves in is a competitive mindset, everything we do, we’re keeping score, we’re trying to win,” Erwin shared after the game. “Anything in life that we’re doing, whether it’s on the soccer field or not, it’s that championship mindset. When you carry it throughout your practice and everything you do, that kind of translates to the game.”

The Lady Toppers as a unit turned in three goals, three assists, 15 awarded corner kicks and 21 shots, 13 of which were on goal. The Lady Bulldogs managed a single shot on goal and the Lady Toppers’ focus now turns to the no. 18 Vanderbilt Commodores who will be visiting the Soccer Complex on Thursday, Aug. 26.

“We’re just going to get back to it, we’re going to look at film on Vanderbilt and check them out a little bit,” Neidell said. “We only have a couple days to rest and a couple days to get ready for them, and with school starting this week it poses another challenge in our preparations, but I like the base that we have and we just need to keep building on it.”

First kick against the Commodores is set for 7 p.m. CT on Thursday night.

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