WKU Soccer earns first win over Kentucky

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.

Cole McIntire, Sports Reporter

WKU Soccer (2-2-1) defeated the University of Kentucky Wildcats (4-1) 1-0 Thursday night at the WKU Soccer Complex. 

WKU had a solid night against the Wildcats. UK led the game in shots with 13 compared to WKU’s 10. The WKU defense was the story of the game. WKU pitched a clean sheet against a UK offense that outscored its previous four opponents 10-2. 

“Well, we’ve been kind of working on our one-vs-one defending,” WKU head coach Jason Neidell said. And our team defending for the last few weeks. It hasn’t come off the way we wanted it to, until tonight. And tonight we took a big step forward and now we want to pride ourselves on being a stingy defensive team.”

Sophomore Aspen Seaich scored her first goal of the season in a very physical game against Kentucky.

“It was tough,” Seaich said. “They were a really good opponent but I think that we came out really strong. I knew that it was gonna be tough. We won the ball, won our tackles and won all of our challenges.”

Both clubs got off to a slow start to begin the game. The match stayed scoreless through 15 minutes of play until Seaich ignited the WKU faithful with a beautiful strike in the 16th minute.

In the 27th minute junior Lily Rummo earned a yellow card for her physical defense. With six minutes left in the first half the Hilltoppers took two consecutive shots inside the box to no avail.

At the end of the first half the Hilltopers led the Wildcats 1-0.

The Hilltopper defense proved to be strong in the first half by allowing only one shot on goal. The WKU offense had three shots on goal in the first half. Both teams had three saves to conclude the half.

In the second half of play the Wildcats missed an opportunity to even up the game with a header from senior Jordyn Rhodes going barely left of the post. The Hilltoppers and Wildcats played a physical second half with seven total fouls called. 

The game ended with both teams attempting five shots on goal. WKU had nine corner kick attempts while UK had five. It was a great home contest for the Hilltoppers in front of a packed crowd.

The crowd was a highlight of the night for the Hilltoppers. Fans filled the bleachers and crowded the sidelines for the in-state matchup. Spectators were also seen watching from all rows of the adjacent parking garage. 

“The crowd was absolutely electric,” Neidell said. “They were a big reason we were able to find something extra, especially late in the game. I just want to applaud them and thank them for coming out. We had great support from the community. We had great support from our campus community and our other student athletes and I’m just so proud to be a part of the WKU spirit.”

The Hilltoppers’ next match will be against Belmont on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. CT.

Sports reporter Cole McIntire can be reached at [email protected]