NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tally Bishop scored her first collegiate goal less than five
minutes into the contest, and sophomore Chandler Backes added the insurance goal for
WKU in the second half as the Lady Toppers claimed a 2-0 shutout victory over
Lipscomb at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex to open their season on Friday evening.
Bishop, who drew the start in her first official match on The Hill, was set up by
Backes and Hannah Chua on the first shot of her career for the early goal. That was
one of a team-best three shots for the freshman on the night, tied alongside Sarah
Gorham. Chua and Backes also each notched a pair of shots on the night as the Lady
Toppers and Bisons were even, 14-14, in attempts.
Olivia Doak led all players with four shots but did not put any on target. Of
Lipscomb’s 14 shots on the evening, the stout WKU defense limited them to just three
shots on goal.
Allison Leone earned her 23rd career solo shutout after playing the full 90 minutes
with three saves between the posts for WKU. For Lipscomb, Kate Mason also played the
full match and made six saves, but surrendered a goal in each half to reach the
WKU began the night with an offensive barrage over the opening five minutes of the
match, culminating in Bishop’s first collegiate goal at the 4:53 mark off assists
from Backes and Chua. Backes forced Mason into action just 44 seconds into the match
and Megan Morris sent an attempt just wide three minutes later, but Bishop buried
her first career shot to give the Lady Toppers an early 1-0 lead.
Bishop’s opening goal also marked the third straight season that a true freshman has
scored in the season opener for WKU. In 2015, Hannah Cady tallied a goal in her
first collegiate match against UT Martin, while Backes and Kaylyn Bryant each found
the back of the net in their debuts last season, also against the Skyhawks.
Just short of the 20-minute mark, Leone was pressed into her first save of the
season against Lipscomb’s Niamh Rawlins and the Lady Toppers immediately went on the
counter. Gorham fired a shot just 40 seconds later that Mason saved, and the
redshirt junior again found space less than a minute later but sent her attempt just
wide of the net.
Brooke Brenner nearly brought the Bisons level in the 41st minute on a strong shot
inside the box, but her attempt struck the crossbar and set up a corner kick for
Lipscomb. Off the set piece, Doak fired a shot toward the goal but could not keep
the attempt low, causing it to sail over the bar and end the offensive threat as WKU
carried a 1-0 advantage into the halftime break.
Much like the first half, the Lady Toppers came out hot offensively over the first
two minutes out of the break. Bishop’s strong shot was parried away by Mason, and
Aleksandra Kozovic took the ensuing corner for the Lady Toppers but could not create
a scoring chance.
At the 64:19 mark, WKU doubled its lead off Backes’ strike that was assisted by
Bishop for her third point of the evening. Pressured by another WKU shot on goal
from Nahyo Jalajel just two minutes earlier, Mason could not get in position to make
the save as Backes netted her 11th career goal to double the WKU advantage to 2-0.
Lipscomb nearly responded just 40 seconds later with a shot from Natalie DuBoise,
but Leone stepped up for her final save of the night to preserve the shutout
victory. WKU’s defense held the Bisons without a shot on goal over the final 25
minutes to push the team to its season-opening victory.
WKU will return to action on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. as the Lady Toppers make the
long trip west to face Texas. The meeting will be the first in program history
between the two sides and is the fifth-longest road trip by mileage in school
history at 920 miles. The Longhorns defeated Rice, 2-1, in their season opener on
Friday evening behind goals from Haley Berg and Cyera Hintzen.
The Lady Toppers will play their first home match of 2017 at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug.
27, against UT Martin at the WKU Soccer Complex. For the 2017 season, all fans of
WKU Soccer will receive free admission to all nine home matches, including five
C-USA tilts later in the season.