BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – With its month-long road trip finally in the books, WKU Soccer
will return to the friendly confines of the WKU Soccer Complex for a pair of matches
this weekend, hosting FIU on Friday evening at 6 p.m. before battling UTEP at 1 p.m.
on Sunday afternoon.
The Lady Toppers (2-7-2, 0-4 C-USA) are coming off the longest stretch of true road
matches in program history, with five straight matches, including their first four
tilts of C-USA play, on the road. Friday’s bout with FIU will be WKU’s first at home
since a 9-0 victory over Kentucky Christian on Sept. 3 and will also double as the
team’s C-USA home opener for this season.
WKU will look to continue its strong run at the Soccer Complex, with an unbeaten
4-0-2 mark over its last six home matches dating back to last season. The Lady
Toppers are 1-0-2 at home thus far in 2018, defeating Kentucky Christian and earning
draws against Miami (Ohio) and Lipscomb. WKU’s current six-match unbeaten home
streak is the program’s longest since a 5-0-1 stretch during the 2012 campaign.
Last weekend, WKU fell in a pair of matches at current league leader Charlotte and
Old Dominion, with Megan Morris scoring early in the battle at Charlotte for her
first goal of the season. Freshman goalkeeper Bailee Witt shined for the Lady
Toppers, making 10 combined saves across the two tilts, and she now has five or more
saves in three of WKU’s last five matches and in five total matches this season.
Ambere Barnett and Olivia Stanley remain atop the team’s scoring charts with three
goals and seven points apiece, and Nicole Roseland trails just behind with two goals
and one assist. For Roseland, a senior who has played from a holding midfielder
position for much of her career, the two goals are also the first of her tenure on
FIU (0-12-1, 0-4-1 C-USA) dropped its first 12 matches of the season before earning
its first favorable result in its last time out, claiming a 2-2 draw against
Louisiana Tech last Sunday afternoon. The Panthers have struggled to find the back
of the net for much of the season, being shut out in seven of their 13 matches and
tallying only nine goals thus far while surrendering 46 to their opponents.
Ashley Adams has accounted for nearly half of the Panthers’ scoring this season,
scoring a team-best four goals to match Kaydeen Jack (three goals, two assists) for
the team lead with eight total points. Rayquel Berry is the only other goalscorer
for FIU through 13 matches, having found the back of the net twice while appearing
in every match.
In goal, Christina Velazquez has played every minute for FIU as a true freshman,
posting a goals against average of 3.48 with 76 saves in 1,190 minutes of action.
On Sunday, UTEP (6-6-1, 1-3 C-USA) will visit the Soccer Complex after dropping both
of its matches last weekend, falling to UAB and Middle Tennessee in El Paso. After
holding a 5-3-1 overall record following a 2-0 win over FIU on Sept. 16, the Miners
have dropped three of their four most recent matches and have been held to one goal
or fewer in each of those three setbacks.
Lauren Crenshaw leads the Miners with five goals this season and is one of six
multi-goal scorers for the team. Vic Bohdan has added four goals and Anna Jimmerson
has tallied three, while April Pate has dished out a team-best four assists.
Alyssa Palacios has played every minute between the pipes for UTEP, seeing just over
1,230 minutes of playing time while making 62 saves for a 1.24 goals against average
and three shutouts.
Following this weekend’s action, WKU will remain at home for two more matches next
weekend against two of the perennial C-USA title contenders in North Texas (Oct. 12
at 6 p.m.) and Rice (Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.). The Mean Green are one of four unbeaten
teams still remaining in conference play, while Rice has struggled this season with
a 3-6 record after reaching the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid in 2017.