Bowling Green, Ky. — The Western Kentucky University women's soccer team made history Friday night, clinching the first Sun Belt Conference regular season championship in the program's seven-year history, as it held off Middle Tennessee State for a 1-1 double overtime tie.
With the tie, the Lady Toppers finish the regular season with an overall record of 13-2-3, including a 8-1-2 mark in conference play. Never before has WKU won eight conference matches, and their 13 regular season wins ties the school record set in 2001.
Middle Tennessee, who came into the game in second place in the Sun Belt standings and needing a win to share the conference title, finishes the season with a 10-5-4 record, 7-2-2 in the conference.
The Lady Toppers got on the board first in the 31st minute when Kristin Cocchiarella scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season off a double assist from Morgan Thomas and Amanda Buechel.
In the second half, the Lady Blue Raiders drew even with a goal in the 62nd minute by Kelly Downs.
After two overtimes, the 1-1 deadlock could not be broken, as both teams went back and forth, with the Lady Toppers firing 17 shots to MTSU's 18. The Blue Raiders had eight shot on goal, while the Lady Toppers had six shots at the net.
"We were very steady tonight," head coach Jason Neidell stated. "Everyone contributed and played well."
Meredith Goodson played all 110 minutes in goal for WKU, making seven saves.
"We hope to build on our first Sun Belt championship," Neidell said. "Hopefully, we can go to the tournament next week and continue to prove ourselves."
The win gives the Lady Toppers the number one seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference tournament, which will be held November 7-10 in Mobile, Alabama. WKU will play its opening round match on Wednesday, with the time yet to be determined.