CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore Chandler Backes tallied her second goal of the season
on a penalty kick early in the second half, but WKU could not overcome a pair of
second-half goals from Austin Peay at the Morgan Brothers Soccer Field on Friday
evening in a 2-1 setback.
After registering just two shots in the opening 45 minutes of play, WKU’s offense
came alive in the second half, tallying seven shots as the Lady Toppers applied
pressure during the search for an equalizer. Backes finished with a match-high four
shots, and five other Lady Toppers recorded one on the evening, including Paige
Goodman’s near-goal at the end of the first half.
Backes’ penalty kick goal for the Lady Toppers was the program’s first since Oct.
18, 2015, when former player Olivia Fitzgerald scored from the spot in a 3-1 victory
at Charlotte. The goal was also Backes’ 12th of her career in just 22 matches on The
Allison Leone played the full 90 minutes in goal for WKU, notching three saves on
the night. For Austin Peay, Mary Parker Powell manned the posts for the full match,
allowing the penalty kick goal and making one stop.
Neither side could create an offensive opportunity over the opening 15 minutes of
the match until the Lady Govs’ Claire Larose broke free up the left side on a
counterattack. Faced with a one-on-one situation, Leone stonewalled Larose’s attempt
and kept the match level early in the first half.
Just before the halftime break, Goodman nearly scored her first collegiate goal that
would have sent the Lady Toppers into the locker room with a one-goal edge. The Lake
Orion, Mich., native tried to chip a shot over Powell from inside the box and
managed to sneak the attempt just under the crossbar, but the Austin Peay goalkeeper
corralled the shot to send the two sides into the break in a scoreless tie.
Backes put the Lady Toppers in front with her first collegiate penalty kick at the
48:40 mark. Freshman Victoria Mayo drew the foul after being brought down hard on
the right side of the box, and Backes buried the attempt from the spot past Powell
to give WKU a 1-0 lead just under four minutes into the second half.
Austin Peay responded with an equalizer two and a half minutes later off the foot of
Kirstin Robertson. Set up by a cross from Morgan Jackson on the left side, Robertson
narrowly beat Leone to pull the Lady Govs even in the 52nd minute of play.
After Shelby Stewart’s penalty kick goal gave Austin Peay a 2-1 lead in the 72nd
minute, WKU poured on the offensive pressure over the next 15 minutes in an attempt
to pull even. Kaylyn Bryant’s blast over the crossbar in the 82nd minute, created
off an Aleksandra Kozovic corner, nearly leveled the match, while both Mayo and
Backes each had chances blocked by defenders.
In the final minute of the match, Backes had a chance from a tough angle blocked
away, and Nicole Roseland’s corner kick from the right side could not connect with a
target in the box as time expired.
WKU will return to action on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. against UT Martin for its
first home match of the season at the WKU Soccer Complex. Admission for all home
matches is free this season, and the first 250 fans in attendance on Sunday will
receive a free WKU Soccer schedule magnet detailing all nine home dates. The Lady
Toppers sport a perfect 2-0 record against the Skyhawks with victories in each of
the last two seasons and will be looking to maintain their stellar 13-3 overall
record in home openers in program history.