Lady Toppers to rematch UAB in conference tournament quarterfinal

WKU+Hilltoppers+Redshirt+Junior+Midfielder+Lucy+Lyon+%281%29+kisses+Junior+Forward+Katie+Erwin+%2813%29+to+celebrate+Erwins+goal+against+the+Rice+Owls+on+Saturday+evening%2C+Oct.+2%2C+in+the+final+minutes+of+their+game+at+the+WKU+Soccer+Complex.+WKU+won+the+match+2-0.

ARTHUR TRICKETT-WILE

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 repoter

The Lady Toppers (10-4-1, 5-2-1 C-USA) have been awarded the No. 2 seed in the conference’s east division following their 1-1 draw with Charlotte to conclude the regular season. The Lady Toppers now travel to Boca Raton, Florida to compete in the quarterfinal round of the 2021 Conference USA tournament, a rematch against the UAB Blazers (6-8-3, 4-3-1 C-USA), Wednesday afternoon.

“Knowing that every game that we play in the tournament could be the end of our season, that mental pressure allows me to really realize that every game is what counts,” WKU graduate goalkeeper Alexis Bach said. “You’re not worrying about the finals, you’re always worrying about the next game, because that game could be the end. You have to show up for every single game and I think the big thing for us, and for me personally, is just showing up mentally to every game no matter who the opponent is.”

The Lady Toppers are 5-2-1 all-time against the UAB Blazers and have managed to defeat their conference foe in their last three meetings, including a 1-0 shutout victory this season on UAB’s own turf.

Neither team could score in regulation during their matchup in September, a game that lasted for nearly two overtime periods. Within the final minute of double overtime, WKU freshman midfielder Briana Sayoc notched the golden goal to hand UAB their third consecutive loss to the Lady Toppers.

UAB freshman forward Laura Zemberyova and junior midfielder Asha Zuniga are two dangerous offensive weapons at the Blazers’ disposal that have the potential to put an end to WKU’s standout season.

Zemberyova leads UAB’s offense with nine points in 2021. The Prešov, Slovakia native has found the back of the net three times this year and has assisted on three other scores.

Zuniga is close behind her teammate with eight points. The Lakeland, Florida native has scored four times over the course of the season.

The Lady Toppers will take on the UAB Blazers on a neutral playing field tomorrow afternoon in the quarterfinals round of the tournament. The match is set to kickoff at 3:30 p.m. and will stream on ESPN+. The winner of tomorrow’s quarterfinals match will advance to the semifinal round of the tournament to face off against the winner of FAU vs Southern Miss.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the opponent WKU would face if it defeated UAB. The Herald regrets the error.

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