WKU extends win streak to four, picks up third shutout over Centre College

WKU women’s soccer player Katie Erwin (13) celebrates with her teammate Ambere Barnett (15) after a big goal to put Western up two goals against their opponent FIU after their game on March 4, 2021.

Ian Fleischman

The Lady Toppers (4-1), (2-0, C-USA) returned to action at the WKU Soccer Complex on Saturday afternoon facing off against Division III powerhouse Centre College (0-1-1). 

WKU extended their winning streak to four with a 1-0 win over the Colonels. 

Freshman Brina Micheels led the way for the Lady Toppers with her score at the seventh minute. The game was held in check by WKU’s excellent defense only allowing four shots on the goal.

“We were pretty heavy legged today,” head coach Jason Neidell said. “It feels good to get the 1-0 result today. They gave us all we could handle today. we were able to go deep on our bench and we played every single player that was eligible for the game today.” 

Centre College started attacking the goal early with senior midfielder Sarah Sirkin’s shot at the fifth minute, but sophomore goalkeeper Ashley Kobylinski was there to snag it for her first save of the match.

“Ashley’s been rock solid. I think you know she actually made a really big save early in the game today,” Nediell said of Kobylinski. “She’s come a long way in a short time.” 

The Lady Toppers didn’t take long to get on the scoreboard with Micheels striking first blood at the seventh minute. Micheels’ goal was her first of the season and career as it gave WKU the early 1-0 lead.

Micheels said it felt amazing to score her first goal as a Lady Topper.

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates of course, but I’ve been waiting a long time to play here,” Micheels said. “It’s really just an incredible feeling.”

Barnett attempted her first shot on the game at the 20th minute, but sophomore goalkeeper Jonelle Barron was there for her first save of the game. Micheels continued taking shots for the Lady Toppers at the 23rd minute, but Barron was there to snag her second save of the game.

The Lady Toppers maintained their attack on the Colonel’s net with freshman midfielder Annah Hopkins’ shot at the 28th minute. Sophomore forward Taylor Stanley followed up with a shot on goal at the 34th minute. Barron was there both times on the save for Centre college, and that would put her at four saves on the match.

At halftime, the Lady Toppers outshot Centre College 11-2. Barron showed out in the first half with five total saves. Micheel’s goal elevated the Lady Toppers over the Colonels in the first half. WKU’s stellar defense was able to contain Centre College heading into the final 45 minutes. 

Hopkins started the Lady Toppers attack on the Colonel’s goal at the 45th minute of the second half. Senior goalkeeper Sarah Stodghill was there for the save. Stodghill came in for Barron for the remaining 45 minutes.

The Lady Toppers and Centre College both played outstanding defense in the second half. Neither team could really get an edge and there was a lot of physicality between the Lady Toppers and Colonels.

Micheels took into account how Centre College fared against the Lady Toppers. 

“It was a very good competition,” Micheels said. “We really kept their speed of play up, and we didn’t back down from any challenges they had.”

Barnett took a shot at the 81st minute, but Stodghill was there to get her second save of the afternoon. The Lady Toppers finished the match out shooting the Colonels 15-3 and stood their ground defensively to grab the 1-0 shutout win.

Up next the Lady Toppers will play at Florida Atlantic on March 12 at 6 p.m.

“Our players are excited about the opportunity to go out and compete,” Neidell said of the upcoming road trip. “Obviously we put ourselves in a really good position with our first two conference games. They’re looking to just just extend that momentum.”

Soccer beat reporter Ian Fleischman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @ian_fleischman.