Lady Toppers cap off regular season in 1-1 draw with Charlotte



WKU Hiltoppers’ junior midfielder Lucy Lyon (19) competes against Ole Miss Rebels’ senior Channing Foster (12) for control of the ball during the Sunday afternoon match.

Drew Toennies, Soccer reporter

The Lady Toppers (10-4-1, 5-2-1 C-USA) faced off against the Charlotte 49ers (7-5-3, 3-2-3 C-USA) in their regular season finale on a rainy Thursday night. The result earned WKU the No. 2 seed in the Conference USA East Division for the upcoming conference tournament.

Unlike last season’s 1-0 shutout win over Charlotte, WKU and the 49ers tied 1-1 following two overtime periods. The draw marks the first time this season that WKU has ended a match in a tie.

The Lady Toppers were outshot by the 49ers 15-5 overall and 8-4 in shots on goal. The 49ers were awarded seven corner kicks while WKU had only two.

The match started off slow for both sides as they dealt with the rainy conditions.

Charlotte freshman defender Kiara Pralle found the first scoring opportunity at the five minute mark but the shot was off. In the 23rd minute, Charlotte midfielder Lily Suyao fired another shot on goal but did not score.

In the 26th minute, sophomore defender Ellie Belcher passed the ball to sophomore forward Lilly Rummo, who launched the ball into the goal to put WKU on the board. It was her second goal of the season.

The Lady Toppers held the lead at halftime and had the only shot on goal while the 49ers outshot WKU 2-1 overall.

Both WKU and Charlotte experienced slow starts to the second half as neither team could find a shot in the first 10 minutes following the break.

Graduate defender Mackenzie Crittenberger took a bottom-center shot that was saved by Charlotte fifth-year goalkeeper Abby Stapleton at the 60th minute. Following Crittenberger’s shot was an attempt by WKU junior forward Katie Erwin but Stapleton grabbed another save.

A yellow card on WKU junior midfielder Sydney Ernst with 20 minutes remaining set up Charlotte for an offensive push with three corner kicks and two shots, but WKU’s defense held the 49ers at bay.

Charlotte tied up the match 1-1 with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation when senior defender Alyssa Moler notched the equalizer.

Charlotte senior midfielder Michaella Arteta attempted to take the lead with an open look in the 86th minute but the shot was blocked. In the final minute of regulation, Charlotte freshman midfielder Macey Bader had an opening of her own but she was unsuccessful.

Charlotte senior defender Nicole Palmer launched the first shot in overtime but it was saved by WKU graduate goalkeeper Alexis Bach.

Charlotte was unable to score a goal in the first few minutes of extra time despite two awarded corner kicks, prompting a second and final overtime window.

In the opening minutes of the second overtime period, Bach saved two shots.

Neither team could score before the 110th minute rolled around as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

With the conclusion to the regular season, the Lady Toppers prepare to travel to Boca Raton, Florida for the 2021 Conference USA Tournament which will run from Nov. 1-7.

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