SAN MARCOS, Texas – The WKU soccer team could not overcome a 20th minute goal from South Alabama’s Lauren Allison in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday afternoon as the Lady Toppers’ season came to a close with a 1-0 loss to the Jaguars at the Bobcat Soccer Complex.
A well-served ball by South Alabama’s Morgan Moats landed right in front of a streaking Allison early in the first half and the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year was able to put the ball in the net for her 16th goal of the season despite a sliding deflection by WKU goalkeeper Nora Abolins.
Allison was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player as South Alabama (14-5-3) secured the Sun Belt’s automatic bid to the NCAA women’s Soccer Tournament.
The Lady Toppers (10-6-5) responded aggressively, winning two corner kicks in a five minute span after Allison’s goal. WKU wound up with six corner kicks in the contest compared to South Alabama’s one, but the Jaguars were able to deflect many of the Lady Toppers’ shots of the corners.
WKU’s best look came in the 84th minute when senior Andrea Curry sent a gorgeous ball deep into the middle of the box. Freshman forward Iris Dunn rose above the crowd and put a clean header on the ball but it rolled just right of the goal post.
WKU stayed aggressive on the attack late, getting decent chances in the box from senior Chrissy Tchoula and junior Allie Auscherman . Tchoula would fire a shot on goal with 1:56 remaining, but Jaguar goalkeeper Melissa Drish was able to make the save.
The Lady Toppers outshot South Alabama 16-14 in the contest, including an 11-5 margin in the second half. WKU’s best looks in the first half came from freshman Haley Baldridge and sophomore Alanna Clancey, who both had shots blocked from the right corner of the box.
Abolins was solid between the posts after Allison’s early goal, making four saves and vocally commanding a backline that surrendered two shots on goal in the second half.
Tchoula, Abolins, Clancey and Dunn were all named to the Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the game, tying a program record for the most selections in a single season. Dunn tallied two-game winning goals that propelled WKU to the title match, Tchoula scored in the quarterfinals against UALR and provided tenacity in the midfield, Clancey played a vital role at outside back and Abolins pitched a shutout in the SBC semifinals versus Texas State.
WKU’s historic 2013 season that saw the Lady Toppers win the Sun Belt Conference regular season title and place a program record seven players on the All-SBC team comes to a close at 10-6-5.
WKU’s loss was the last game for nine Lady Topper seniors that contributed to 58 wins and two Sun Belt Conference Championship Game appearances. The nine seniors who played their final game in a WKU uniform are Nora Abolins, Andrea Curry, Kiersten Ottaway, Sydney Sisler, Stephanie Lindsey, Chrissy Tchoula, Taryn O’Shea, Torrie Lange and Kayla Steber.