A new face in the net: Bach’s aggressive play keeping WKU’s goal clean

WKU+keeper+Alexis+Bach+%2818%29+has+made+an+immediate+impact+on+her+program+in+her+first+season+on+the+Hill.

ARTHUR TRICKETT-WILE

WKU keeper Alexis Bach (18) has made an immediate impact on her program in her first season on the Hill.

Drew Toennies, Soccer reporter

Lady Topper fans have witnessed a brand-new keeper in WKU’s goal this season. Arkansas transfer and graduate goalkeeper Alexis Bach has quickly made an impact for her team on the field, showcasing her aggression, physicality and championship mindset.

“Alexis has been a wonderful leader for this team both on and off the field,” WKU head coach Jason Neidell said. “As a goalkeeper at Arkansas, she gained some incredible insight into preparing to win championships. She has been able to put her own touch on this philosophy and, in doing so, has brought a wealth of personal experience into her role within our program.”

Since Bach first took the field at the WKU Soccer Complex, the Lady Toppers established their best start to a season since 2009 and compiled their best record over the course of 12 matches since the 2008 season.

Before coming to WKU this year, Alexis Bach attended the University of Arkansas where she first entered the spotlight as a freshman keeper in 2017 and was redshirted in the same season.

“I committed to Arkansas at about 15 so I was pretty young,” Bach said. “I was really drawn to it originally just because it was a growing program and I thought that I would really be able to develop as a player and a person there and I loved my time there. Honestly, the environment there is just very intense and just as a player I was able to grow and obviously won a few championships there and whatnot so that was really great.”

During the entirety of Bach’s time on the field as a redshirt freshman, she allowed only two scores. In Bach’s second career start against Georgia, the Lowville, New York, native saved two shots. Bach received her first collegiate victory against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 7, 2017 where she saved two-of-three shots on goal in one half of play.

During Bach’s entire career at Arkansas, she had a 1.047 goals against average and a 0.706 save percentage.

“My decision to leave… I felt like my time there was just over, I think I got as much as I could out of the program and they got as much as they could out of me,” Bach said. “I just thought that it was time for me to go somewhere else where I could impact a program and they could impact me, and I could just continue to grow.”

On April 23, 2021, Bach found her new team in Bowling Green as WKU Soccer head coach Jason Neidell announced that Bach had been added to the Lady Toppers’ roster.

“Obviously, Alexis has some outstanding physical attributes and athleticism along with a strong playing background,” Neidell said. “However, in getting to know Alexis, her outstanding character, commitment, and passion also became apparent.”

Bach said even when she was still in the recruiting process with WKU, the team had confidence in her, which helped further her athletic career.

“As soon as I stepped in, everyone was super welcoming and I just knew right off the bat even when I was being recruited by them that they had that confidence in me that I think I needed to continue to grow as a player,” Bach said. “That confidence in both the players and the coaching staff allowed me to play to my fullest ability, allowed me to be aggressive and just go out there and do my job and know that they trust me, and I trust them.”

Part of what makes Bach stand out as a keeper is how she is constantly moving around, trying to benefit the defense in any way she can. Oftentimes, Bach moves outside the goalie box to retrieve the ball before it is in a position to score.

“I think that the main reason is just because I know that my teammates are behind me so whenever I go out a lot of times, I hear Lyric [Schmidt] saying ‘I got you’ behind which allows me to go out there and be aggressive, knowing that I have those people behind me,” Bach said.

When Bach still resided in Fayetteville, her team suffered a heartbreaking 3-1 loss in the SEC Tournament Championship to the Vanderbilt Commodores.

As a Lady Topper, Bach found herself facing off against the Commodores once again. This time Bach had the last laugh, as WKU bested Vanderbilt 3-2 in an overtime thriller.

“I think a lot of people underestimate us and I think that it was a big challenge to step up,” Bach said. “It was just awesome to go into that kind of game with the people I did. I think it really showed the grit that we have and the ability for us to show up when we need to and going in with that group just made it even more special.”

In the intense competition between the two, a penalty kick opportunity for the Commodores resulted in a huge save for Bach who blocked the initial kick.

“That was a big save for me especially because I think that’s the only one we’d given up in the game,” Bach said. “If I remember correctly, the game was still 1-0 at that time so it was a big save. I knew that they got a lot of chances but that was one we really had to eliminate.”

Bach, despite not facing a single penalty kick up to that point in the season, was ready to face the challenge head-on.

“We talked about [penalty kicks] before every game and so that was one I personally hadn’t seen yet, so I kind of just went with my gut and just did what I had to do,” Bach said. “It was unfortunate that they rebounded and still scored but it was kind of nice to be able to know that I could step up in a big situation.”

Looking back over the course of the season, it’s plain to see Bach’s ability to step up in such situations has had a huge effect on her team’s 10-4-0 record. 

Bach currently sits in third place among all C-USA goalkeepers for both saves (50) and goals-against average (.823). She has helped guide the team to five shutout victories, only allowing 11 goals to slip past her grasp, and has held every opponent scoreless in overtime.

Bach and the Lady Toppers are set to conclude their regular season tomorrow night in Charlotte, North Carolina as the Charlotte 49ers host the Lady Toppers on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. CT.

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