BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Third-seeded WKU is set to open the 2016 C-USA Tournament in the quarterfinals on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. (CT) against tournament host Charlotte at Transamerica Field.
Wednesday’s quarterfinal matches as well as Friday’s semifinals will be streamed live on C-USA TV, while Sunday’s championship match will be carried on ESPN3.
The Lady Toppers (12-6-0, 7-3-0) and the 49ers (9-8-1, 5-4-1) did not meet during the regular season and the two have split the two meetings in program history, both of which have come since 2014. Against common opponents this season, WKU held a 6-3-0 mark while Charlotte went 5-3-1. On Wednesday, WKU will also be seeking its first postseason victory since joining C-USA after falling against Rice and North Texas in the opening match of the conference tournament in each of the last two seasons.
WKU enters the tournament after surrendering just four goals during conference play, the fewest among all C-USA teams, while Charlotte notched 18 goals, just one score behind North Texas and Rice for the most in the league. To mirror those opposites on offense and defense, Lady Topper goalkeeper Allison Leone finished with nine solo shutouts, seven of which came in C-USA play, while Charlotte’s Martha Thomas was named the 2016 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year after tallying nine goals and eight assists.
Olivia Fitzgerald and Nicole Roseland each earned First Team All-C-USA honors after leading the strong WKU defense this season. The Lady Toppers have given up just 12 goals in 18 matches, tied for the fewest allowed in a single season in program history. Fitzgerald has started all 18 matches and leads all players with 1,615 minutes played, while Roseland has made 17 starts and ranks second among WKU field players with 1,386 minutes.
Offensively, Second Teamer Iris Dunn and Third Teamer Chandler Backes have paired to form a potent offensive attack, combining for 15 goals this season. Backes finished the regular season as C-USA’s leading goalscorer with 10 goals, and she is tied for fourth nationally among all Division I freshmen in the category. Dunn sealed two of WKU’s conference victories, netting match-winning goals against Rice and UAB.
Charlotte finished the regular season with two of the top five goalscorers in C-USA in Thomas and Freshman of the Year Megan Greene, who each scored nine goals. Thomas dished out a team-best eight assists, while Riley Orr also fared well in the category, assisting on seven goals for the 49ers. Between the posts, Anna Shelden played all but 60 minutes this season, making 50 saves while allowing 28 goals for a 1.57 goals against average with four shutouts.
The winner of Wednesday’s match will advance to Friday’s semifinals and will play at 6 p.m. (CT) against the winner of Rice-UTEP. WKU did not face the Miners during the regular season, but earned a 1-0 victory over Rice in Houston on Sept. 30. Friday’s match will also be carried on C-USA TV.
The 2016 WKU Soccer season is being presented by the United States Marines. This season, the Marines and WKU Athletics are working together to promote the outstanding athletic and academic achievements of our female student-athletes. The Marines are proud to work with and support these future leaders of America.