MOBILE, Ala. - Senior Amanda Buechel (Cincinnati, Ohio) found the back of the net in the 76th minute off a header to give WKU a 1-0 win over Arkansas State in the opening round of the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Soccer Championships at "The Cage" at the University of South Alabama. WKU (12-4-3, 6-1-3) extended its unbeaten streak to seven games at 4-0-3.
The Lady Toppers advanced to the semifinals of the tournament for the ninth time in the 12-year history of the program and for the third consecutive year.
Junior Kelsey Burnette (Bowling Green, Ky.) played a corner kick past the far post that senior Ali Stahlke (Naperville, Ill.), the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year, headed back towards the front of the goal. Buechel then headed the ball into the net past Arkansas State keeper Aja Aguirre to give the Lady Toppers the win.
Buechel, a second-team All-Conference selection, scored her tenth goal of the season and second of her career in Sun Belt Conference Tournament play. It was Stahlke's first assist of the season and the third for Burnette.
WKU had earlier defeated Arkansas State (11-8-1, 5-4-1) 2-0 on Sept. 21 to open Sun Belt Conference play.
The win marked the 20th in the last 31 outings for the Hilltoppers. WKU has lost just five games during that 31 game span.
Freshman Nikki Hall (Cincinnati, Ohio), the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week and second-team All-Conference selection, had four saves in her postseason debut in goal for the Lady Toppers.
WKU is now 3-0-4 in SBC tournament play since losing in the 2008 championship game, a four-year span without a conference tournament loss.
WKU advances to the semifinals of the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Championships on Friday, Nov. 2 at 4:00pm CT. Live video and statistics are available through the Sun Belt Conference website at www.sunbeltsports.org. The Lady Toppers will face North Texas in the semifinals. It will mark the second meeting between the teams this season. WKU posted a 2-0 win over the Mean Green on Oct. 21 at the WKU Soccer Complex. It will also mark the third straight year the teams have met in the conference tournament with WKU advancing in each of the last two seasons, including by penalty kicks in the 2011 semifinals.