BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Sarah Gorham’s strike in the 20th minute erased an early deficit
for the Lady Toppers, but WKU could not overcome UAB’s overtime golden goal on
Friday evening at BBVA Compass Field, falling 2-1 in the C-USA clash.
Gorham, a redshirt senior who will be honored in next week’s Senior Night ceremony
at the WKU Soccer Complex, now has a team-high six goals this season. Dynamic
freshman Ambere Barnett and sophomore Victoria Mayo paired up on the assists for the
goal, with Barnett now factoring into seven of WKU’s last nine goals dating back to
the Oct. 7 match against UTEP.
Barnett attempted a match-high four shots for WKU (4-8-4, 2-5-2 C-USA), putting
three of those on goal, and Gorham, Chelsea Moore and Chandler Backes each finished
with two shots apiece. Natalie Presedo and Regan Kommor each finished the evening
with a pair of shots for the Blazers (8-6-1, 5-3 C-USA).
Bailee Witt played the full match in goal for the Lady Toppers and made a critical
save at the end of the regulation with just over 10 seconds remaining to extend the
match into extra time.
Presedo and Kamilah Mustafa were the goalscorers for UAB, with Mustafa and Betsy
Ornelas credited on the assists. In goal, Kelsey Daugherty played the entire match
for the Blazers, finishing with five saves and surrendering only the early goal to
UAB pressed up early in the match and took a 1-0 lead on its third shot of the
evening in the 13th minute. After Presedo and Kommor each sent shots over the
crossbar in the first 10 minutes, Presedo got in close and managed to chip in a goal
off the assist from Mustafa with 12:11 on the clock.
Despite falling behind early, however, WKU fired right back on its very next shot.
Set up by assists from Barnett and Mayo, Gorham found space in the box and blasted
the cross into the top of the goal at the 19:09 mark, erasing the early deficit and
knotting the match back up at one goal apiece with just under 20 minutes played.
Barnett had two chances in the 28th and 40th minutes to put the Lady Toppers in
front, but both tries were corralled by UAB’s Daugherty to maintain the 1-1 deadlock
through the halftime break.
Coming out of the locker room, WKU weathered four UAB corner kick opportunities in
the first 15 minutes of the second half, with the only shot attempt sailing well
over the bar in the 54th minute. At the 65:58 mark, Barnett again broke free and
created a go-ahead opportunity but was unable to sneak her shot past the goalkeeper.
In the closing seconds of regulation, Witt made a crucial save against Kassandra
Daniel to extend the game, stonewalling the UAB attacker and ending the Blazer
threat to force extra time for the third straight match for the Lady Toppers.
Ashley Leonard nearly found the golden goal just under three minutes into the first
overtime period before Daugherty brought in the ball for her fifth save of the
night. Just over one minute later, the Blazers got the golden goal off the foot of
Mustafa, who finished into the back of the net off the cross from Ornelas.
Following Friday’s match, WKU has only its regular season finale remaining as the
Lady Toppers host Marshall next Friday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m. for Senior Night at the
WKU Soccer Complex. Gorham, Megan Morris, Nicole Roseland and Hannah Cady will each
be honored for their contributions to the program as the Lady Toppers clash with the
rival Thundering Herd.