Bowling Green, Ky. — The Western Kentucky University soccer team defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 2-0 on Friday night at the WKU Soccer Complex behind goals by reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Morgan Thomas and Amanda Buechel. The Lady Toppers have yet to surrender a loss during the 2008 season.
With the victory WKU advances to 11-0-3 overall and 5-0-2 in league action, while ULL falls to 4-9-2 and 2-4-1 in conference play.
Thomas scored her first goal of the year in the 25th minute off a free kick from Hayley Marsh.
"She has been itching to get one of goals on a header all year long. It was a beautiful set piece that she got up there and challenged and just put it in," stated head coach Jason Neidell. "She had another chance later in the match that hit off the crossbar. She is obviously a big threat for us in the air on our set pieces and it was good to see her get that goal tonight."
The Lady Toppers had opportunities in the first half out-shooting the Ragin’ Cajuns 13-6. Kellie Walker was stopped with 3:28 left in the first half by ULL goalkeeper Amanda Moorefield that would have put WKU up two. Walker was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. With 27 seconds remaining in the opening period, Thomas’ header found the crossbar off another free kick by Marsh.
WKU kept the offense rolling into the second half. Buechel recorded her sixth goal of the year off a corner kick from the right side. Marsh and Kristin Cocchiarella were credited with assists on the play.
Buechel led WKU with 6 shots of which three were on goal. For the match, WKU outshot ULL 33-12.
Libby Stout came up big once again for WKU throughout the match. She and the defense posted their 10th shutout of the year — a new Lady Topper record for shutouts in a season. Stout stopped five attempts by ULL. Notably, in the 14th minute, Stout made a goal-saving stop against Courtney Hofland — who recorded a team-high three shots on the evening.
"Libby came up really big in the first half, by saving that one on one, that proved to be a big momentum changer in the match. We tightened up, particularly, in the second half in the midfield and did a much better job winning balls and transitioning to attack in the midfield positions," said Neidell.
WKU will play its final regular-season home match on Sunday against Louisiana-Monroe at 1 p.m. The Lady Toppers will say good-bye to three seniors — Alaina Atcher, Catie Chase and Cocchiarella. Atcher was injured in tonight's match early in the second half.
"Alaina, Kristin and Catie have been fantastic contributors to our team and have really had a big impact on our program as a whole," remarked Neidell. "Alaina has been here for five years and I know that this is going to be truly special for her. All three seniors have provided some great leadership, heart and courage on the field for us this year."