WKU shuts out Rice 2-0, remains perfect in conference play



WKU Hilltoppers’ Redshirt Junior Midfielder Lucy Lyon (1) kisses Junior Forward Katie Erwin (13) to celebrate Erwin’s goal against the Rice Owls on Saturday evening, Oct. 2, in the final minutes of their game at the WKU Soccer Complex. WKU won the match 2-0.

Drew Toennies, Soccer reporter

The Lady Toppers (9-1-0, 4-0-0, C-USA) shut out the reigning Conference USA tournament champion Rice Owls (8-3-1, 2-1-0 C-USA) 2-0 at the WKU Soccer Complex on Saturday night.

“I thought we did a really good job executing the game plan tonight,” WKU head coach Jason Neidell said. “I know we played with great discipline, both in the attack and the way that we defended. I thought that our substitutes gave us a tremendous lift in the game when we needed them.”

WKU graduate defender Avery Jacobsen notched the first goal in the 41st minute of the match and WKU junior forward Katie Erwin found the back of the net in the 88th minute of play.

“We knew they were going to be a tough opponent,” Jacobsen said. “They have a quality offense and a really great goalkeeper and backline and we knew that we were gonna have to battle hard and I think we did just that tonight and we capitalized on all the chances that they gave us.”

The Lady Toppers outshot the Owls 12-8 and 6-3 in shots on goal. Rice was awarded with seven corner kicks while five corner kicks were awarded to WKU.

“I think that these two teams are quality teams on both ends,” Erwin said. “We both have great defensive efforts so even in practice, going against that strong of a defense, it kind of prepared us. And just following through with the scouting report and knowing how to get through them. That’s the reason that we were able to put the ball in the back of the net today.”

Sophomore defender Ellie Belcher presented the first offensive threat to Rice as she took a shot that would be off target in the third minute of the match.

Junior forward Katie Erwin attempted to score off a breakaway in the fourth minute but several Rice defenders applied pressure and Erwin’s shot on goal was saved by junior goalkeeper Bella Killgore.

Sophomore midfielder Brina Micheels fired a shot towards Rice’s net in the seventh minute but could not score.

Rice Junior midfielder Delaney Schultz had a scoring opportunity in the both eight and 16th minute of the match. Schultz’s first shot was not on target but her second shot was, and graduate goalkeeper Alexis Bach was there for the save.

After the first 30 minutes of play  WKU had outshot the Owls 3-2 and both teams had taken one shot on goal.

Jacobsen launched a shot into the back of the net off a penalty kick to notch the match’s first goal in the 41st minute.

By halftime, the Lady Toppers had outshot the Owls 4-3 and both teams had taken two shots on goal. The Owls were awarded three corner kicks in the first 45 minutes of play to WKU’s two.

Rice senior defender Caleigh Page fired a shot towards the net in the 47th minute but the shot was off the top of the woodwork. In the 51st minute, Schultz took a shot that was off the mark as well.

Rice junior midfielder Serena Pham took a shot at the 54th minute that was saved by Bach followed up by a shot by freshman forward Vyviene Spaulding

Erwin took another shot in the 67th minute but Killgore grabbed the save. 

In the 88th minute of play, Erwin found the back of the net and notched the second goal of the match to secure the Lady Toppers’ 2-0 shutout of the Owls.

The Lady Toppers will remain in Bowling Green for their next matchup as they take on Old Dominion on Friday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. CT at the WKU Soccer Complex.

“Old Dominion is a fantastic side,” Neidell said. “…They are another fantastic team. Obviously, the biggest thing, this game took a lot out of us tonight. We need to take a day off. The team deserves it. We need to get back to watching some film and get ready for a really, really good Old Dominion side.”

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