BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU is set to close out its preseason exhibition schedule with
two matches at the WKU Soccer Complex this weekend, welcoming Saint Louis on Friday
evening before taking on Belmont on Sunday. Both matches are slated for first kick
at 6 p.m.
WKU is coming off a 1-1 draw in its first exhibition contest of the preseason last
Saturday evening at Austin Peay. Trailing 1-0 after a goal by the Lady Govs in the
70th minute, Sarah Gorham tallied the late equalizer for the Lady Toppers with less
than four minutes remaining, firing a dart past the goalkeeper from outside the box
to secure the split decision.
All seven of WKU’s newcomers saw action in their first collegiate match, with Ambere
Barnett and Chelsea Moore drawing starts. Barnett played the full 90 minutes in the
midfield and tied with Gorham for the team lead with three shots, and all other
freshmen saw at least 23 minutes of playing time.
In goal, WKU split halves between Anne-Marie Ulliac and Bailee Witt against Austin
Peay. Ulliac earned the start and made two saves to keep a clean sheet in the first
half, while Witt made a save and kept the Lady Toppers in position to equalize
following Austin Peay’s goal.
Friday’s match is the lone exhibition of the preseason for Saint Louis, who posted a
15-3-2 overall record with a 7-2-1 mark in Atlantic 10 matches in 2017. The
Billikens were receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll midway through the
season and return all five of their top scorers, including sophomore Olivia Petit,
who finished the 2017 campaign with eight goals and four assists.
Between the pipes, Saint Louis brings back Mary Niehaus, who started all 20 matches
and played all but 101 minutes for the Billikens last season. Niehaus allowed just
10 goals across 1,739 minutes for a goals against average of 0.52 while making 62
saves and totaling 10 solo shutouts.
Belmont will take the field on Thursday afternoon at Chattanooga before making the
trip to Bowling Green on Sunday evening. Last season, the Bruins were 10-6-2 overall
and 6-4 in OVC matches but posted nearly two goals per match with 35 on the season.
Leading scorer Belicia Mendiola (nine goals, eight assists in 2017) is no longer on
the roster, but second-leading scorer Julie Garst returns after netting five goals
for Belmont last year.
Both goalkeepers who saw extensive minutes for Belmont last season are back in 2018,
with Lily Herman leading the way after playing 1,410 minutes. Herman allowed 18
goals with 44 saves and five solo shutouts, while fellow keeper Abby Hunt
surrendered five goals in 254 minutes of action.
Sunday’s match will close out the exhibition portion of WKU’s preseason and set the
stage for the Lady Toppers’ regular season opener at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17 at
Murray State. WKU owns a 4-1 all-time record against the Racers and captured the
most recent meeting, 4-0, on Sept. 12, 2008.