Bowling Green, Ky. — Western Kentucky University soccer coach Jason Neidell announced the 2008 schedule for the defending regular-season Sun Belt Conference champions on Monday morning.
The Lady Toppers are looking to repeat their success from last year’s campaign — tieing the school record for most wins in a season and experiencing one of the longest winning streaks in school history. The 2007 squad finished the year 14-3-3 overall and 9-2-2 in league play.
The schedule features ten home matches, two conference champions and a match with a perennial Southeastern Conference affiliate institution. The Lady Toppers will also play ten matches away from the confines of the WKU Soccer Complex.
WKU opens the march to their first-ever SBC Tournament crown with two exhibition matches against Memphis and Evansville. Memphis — 2007 Conference USA tournament winner — will travel to Bowling Green on Aug. 14 while the Lady Toppers will make their first trip of the new season to Evansville on Aug. 16.
Mississippi — who finished last season with a loss to 16th ranked Georgia in the SEC tournament — will travel to Bowling Green for the first meeting between the two schools on Aug. 22. Last season, the Lady Toppers won a match against Mississippi State 2-1. The win was the first in school history over a SEC affiliate university. The match slates the opening of the 2008 regular season.
The Lady Toppers will travel to Richmond on Aug. 24 to play instate rival, Eastern Kentucky. Last year, WKU defeated EKU 6-2 in Bowling Green and featured former Lady Topper Alicia Dalby’s three goals — the first hat-trick of the year.
Morehead State and Butler close out the month as they both travel to the WKU campus. Morehead State will be in town for a match on Aug. 29 while Butler will play the Lady Toppers on the final day of the month.
WKU will travel to Nashville, Tenn., for the Belmont Showcase Sept. 12-14. The Lady Toppers will play Murray State on the 12th with a match against event host Belmont on the 14th.
The Lady Toppers will face one more non-conference opponent on Sept. 19 at home against Eastern Illinois.
Conference play opens with a trip to Florida to take on Florida Atlantic (Sept.26) and Florida International (Sept. 28). Last season, the Lady Toppers beat FAU 2-1 and collected a win over FIU 5-0 — returning forward Amanda Buechel recorded the second hat-trick against the Golden Panthers scoring three-goals.
The home conference slate will begin with a series between two Alabama schools. South Alabama will travel to the state on Oct. 3 while Troy will be in town on the fifth. The Lady Toppers defeated USA twice last season with the final win played in the first-round of the conference tournament.
On Oct. 10 UALR will play host to WKU and the Lady Toppers will extend their stay for a match with Arkansas State on the 12th. Both teams were blanked by WKU last season.
Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe will travel to Bowling Green for matches in October. ULL will play on the 17th while ULM will face WKU on the 19th.
The Lady Toppers will travel to defending SBC tournament champion Denver on Oct. 24 and North Texas Oct. 26 before playing the final home match of the year. Middle Tennessee will be in Bowling Green to close out the month on the 31st.
WKU will look to get over the hump of the SBC semifinals when they travel back to Denton, Texas, for the Sun Belt Conference tournament Nov. 5-8.