BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – On a windy afternoon at the WKU Soccer Complex, WKU netted a
pair of first-half goals from Chandler Backes and Tally Bishop and held FIU off the
board to earn a 2-0 victory on Sunday.
The Lady Toppers (5-8-1, 2-4-1 C-USA) claimed their fifth shutout of the season and
second in a row after also shutting out Florida Atlantic on Friday evening. WKU has
not allowed a goal in 252 consecutive minutes dating back to the match at Middle
Tennessee on Oct. 6.
Bishop found the back of the net for the second straight match for WKU, while Backes
moved into a tie for 10th place on the program’s all-time career goalscoring list
with her strike in the 16th minute. Only a sophomore, Backes has collected 15 goals
in 33 matches on The Hill, five of which have come this season.
WKU held a 12-6 edge in total shots and a 5-3 advantage in shots on goal over the
Panthers on the afternoon, led by a match-high trio of shots from Bishop. Backes
also had a pair of shots, and both Avery Jacobsen and Deven Jackson put one shot on
For FIU (1-11, 0-7 C-USA), Michaela Rouse had a pair of shots on goal and Emily
Baragar added one more as the Panthers were held in check by the stout WKU defense
for much of the afternoon.
Allison Leone notched her fifth solo shutout while playing all 90 minutes and making
three saves for WKU, and FIU’s Nevena Stojakovic also manned the posts for all 90
minutes, surrendering the two early goals and making three stops.
As the action played out in the midfield over the first 15 minutes of the match,
neither side placed a shot on goal. WKU had three chances, including a long direct
free kick from Aleksandra Kozovic that nearly sneaked under the crossbar, and FIU
was forced on its heels to defend against the early attacks from the Lady Toppers.
Backes broke through at the 15:28 mark to give the Lady Toppers an early 1-0 edge.
Shayna Dheel played the ball in from the right side of the box to the foot of Sarah
Gorham, who sent a low pass to Backes in the center of the box. With space, the
sophomore collected the ball and beat Stojakovic to the lower right corner for her
fifth tally of the year.
Just over 10 minutes later, the Lady Toppers doubled their lead on a strike from
Bishop. Hannah Chua played the ball down and into the box to set up the freshman,
whose strike found the top center of the goal past Stojakovic to hand WKU a 2-0 edge
midway through the opening half.
Leone came up with a stop against Rouse with just over five minutes left in the half
to maintain the 2-0 scoreline through the halftime break.
Coming out of the locker room, the wind turned gusty as it blew toward WKU’s goal,
preventing both sides from relying on aerial passes down the field. Much like she
did to close the first half, Leone came out with a stop for the Lady Toppers in the
58th minute, collecting a headed effort from Rouse after a cross into the box.
In the 79th minute, Hannah Cady nearly added a third goal to WKU’s total on a cross
into the box from Dheel. The senior played the ball in from the left side as Cady
took position at the right post, but her header grazed the ball and was not able to
get enough power as the chance went wide right of the goal.
Both goalkeepers made saves in the final five minutes, including a strong stop to
deny Jackson as the clock wound down at the very end of the match, as WKU held on to
seal the 2-0 shutout victory.
WKU will return to the pitch next Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. as the Lady Toppers
make the long trip west to square off against UTSA. The two sides have met three
times in program history, battling once in each of the last three seasons, and WKU
holds a perfect 3-0 edge in the series over the Roadrunners. In the most recent
meeting, the Lady Toppers claimed a 2-0 decision over UTSA in Bowling Green on Oct.
20, 2016, last season.