BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU used a strong offensive push over the final 15 minutes as
it sought an equalizer on Friday evening, but could not overcome a first-half goal
in a 1-0 setback against Middle Tennessee at the Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer
Sarah Gorham and Chandler Backes each had a match-high three shots, and all three of
Backes’ opportunities were put on goal. Megan Morris also had a pair of shots on
goal for the Lady Toppers (3-8-1, 0-4-1 C-USA), who held a 17-7 advantage in shots
over Middle Tennessee and an 8-3 edge in shots on goal.
In goal for the Lady Toppers, Allison Leone played the full 90 minutes, making a
pair of saves while giving up only DePriest’s goal in the 17th minute.
For Middle Tennessee (6-5, 3-1 C-USA), DePriest, Amber Hoot and Sally Gill each had
two shots apiece, and Charlotte Van Ishoven added the final shot of the evening for
the Blue Raiders. Despite being held in check offensively throughout the match,
Middle Tennessee took the early lead on DePriest’s goal and held on over the final
minutes for the win.
Sydney Chalcraft earned the victory between the posts for Middle Tennessee,
collecting eight saves across 90 minutes of action.
Neither side threatened over the first 15 minutes of the match before DePriest put
the Blue Raiders up 1-0 at the 16:38 mark. Sam DeBien crossed the ball into the box
looking for the team’s leading scorer, and DePriest caught the cross with a volley
into the back of the net to give Middle Tennessee the early advantage.
After falling behind, WKU peppered Chalcraft and the Blue Raider defense throughout
the remainder of the first half, tallying five shots including three on goal. Backes
tallied the first shot on goal in the 25th minute, followed by chances from Victoria
Mayo in the 34th minute and Morris on the final shot of the half from either side at
the 40:10 mark. Despite the strong offensive pressure, WKU trailed the Blue Raiders
1-0 entering the halftime break.
Both sides came out of the locker room with a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes
of the second half. Backes again nearly pulled the Lady Toppers level on a strong
shot in the 52nd minute, while Leone made a save on Van Ishoven to prevent the Blue
Raiders from doubling their lead. Both sides also had one corner kick opportunity
apiece to open the half, but could not capitalize on the set pieces.
Off a corner kick from Nahyo Jalajel, Hannah Cady came close to equalizing the match
in the 65th minute. With the ball played in from the corner, Cady turned and fired
on goal only to have her chance blocked away by a Blue Raider defender. Five minutes
later, Gorham also had an opportunity hit a defender to end the Lady Topper attack.
Over the final 15 minutes of play, WKU had a number of chances to find the back of
the net. Aleksandra Kozovic struck the post at the 75:05 mark and the Lady Toppers
pushed forward over the final 10 minutes, notching three shots on goal against
Chalcraft from Shayna Dheel, Backes and Morris. Even with the added pressure,
however, WKU was unable to find a late equalizer as the Blue Raiders held on for the
WKU will return to action on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. as the Lady Toppers travel
to Birmingham, Ala., to take on UAB. The Lady Toppers own a 2-0-1 record all-time
against the Blazers and captured a 2-0 victory in Bowling Green on Oct. 9, 2016,
last season in the most recent meeting between the two sides.