Lady Toppers lose perfect C-USA record in 1-0 loss to ODU

Hilltoppers+senior+Lyric+Schmidt+%284%29+watches+as+the+ODU+Monarchs+score+a+goal+on+Friday+evening%2C+Oct.+8+of+2021%2C+during+a+match+at+the+WKU+Soccer+Complex.

Arthur Trickett-Wile

Hilltoppers’ senior Lyric Schmidt (4) watches as the ODU Monarchs score a goal on Friday evening, Oct. 8 of 2021, during a match at the WKU Soccer Complex.

Drew Toennies, Soccer reporter

The Lady Toppers (9-2-0, 4-1-0 C-USA) lost the battle for the top spot in the east division of Conference USA after the Old Dominion Monarchs (9-3-0, 5-0-0 C-USA) shut out WKU 1-0 at the WKU Soccer Complex on Friday night.

“I didn’t think that we brought enough intensity to the match over the course of 90 minutes, I felt like we were chasing the game,” WKU head coach Jason Neidell said after the loss. “And the second half we did a much better job of bringing energy and intensity to the game, but over the course of 90 minutes, for whatever reason, we just didn’t have it tonight.”

ODU senior defender Riley Kennett notched the game-winning goal in the 39th minute of the match and the Lady Toppers were unable to find an equalizer.

The Lady Toppers were outshot by the Monarchs 13-4 overall and 6-1 in shots on goal. The Lady Toppers were awarded four corner kicks whereas the Monarchs were awarded with two.

“Our identity is shaped by the intensity that we bring to the match,” Neidell said. “It was, in a way, a championship match and we didn’t bring a championship effort. [We’ve] got to evaluate individually what we need to do to bring that kind of intensity to the game and I think you’re gonna find that this game is a defining moment for us as a program.”

ODU senior defender Riley Kennett and junior forward Megan Watts took the first two shots of the match within the first three minutes of play but both shots were off target. In the 7th minute, sophomore midfielder Ryan Parncutt fired another shot towards the net but graduate goalkeeper Alexis Bach was there to save it.

A few moments after ODU’s third shot of the night, WKU junior forward Katie Erwin fired a shot towards the net but it was caught by ODU senior goalkeeper Kasey Perry.

ODU junior midfielder Carla Morich took another shot in the 33rd minute of play but it was once again saved by Bach. Following Morich’s shot was an attempt by WKU senior defender Chelsea Moore but it was off the mark.

Kennett put the Monarchs on the board in the 39th minute as she launched the ball past Bach on a corner kick opportunity to score the only goal ODU would need. Bach rebounded to record saves in both the 47th and 49th minutes.

A corner kick awarded to WKU in the 64th minute presented an opportunity for Erwin to score an equalizer but the shot was blocked. The Monarchs held off the Lady Toppers for the remainder of the match, handing them their first loss in conference play.

The Lady Toppers will face off against the FIU Panthers next Friday evening in Miami, Florida, followed by a matchup against the UTEP Miners at home on Sunday, Oct. 17.

“It’s a really tough weekend,” Neidell said. “We’re playing on a Friday on the road at Miami and Sunday at home against UTEP, which will be our senior day. Every game is a battle in Conference USA, we’re just gonna have to bring our A-game and get back to what we do well, which is finding the intensity we need to bring a championship effort to both of those matches.”

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