WKU Soccer shut out RIce 2-0
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU Soccer registered its sixth shutout win of the season on Saturday night at WKU Soccer Complex against the reigning Conference USA tournament champions, Rice, defeating the Owls 2-0.
With the victory, WKU improves to 9-1-0 overall and 4-0-0 in C-USA. The Lady Toppers are currently tied with Old Dominion for the lead in the East division with 12 points (wins=3 points, ties=1 point, losses=0 points).
“I thought we did a really good job of executing the game plan tonight,” said head coach Jason Neidell. “We played with great discipline in both the attack and the way we defended. I thought our substitutes gave us a tremendous lift in the game when we needed them. I thought Mackenzie Crittenberger and Lucy Lyon in particular came in off the bench and really helped us finish out the game.”
It looked to be another defensive battle between the two teams, but WKU got on the board first just before the halftime break.
On a WKU corner kick in the 42nd minute, a Rice player was carded for a handball in the box giving the Toppers a penalty kick. Avery Jacobsen took the kick and found the back of the net.
“We knew they were going to be a tough opponent,” said Jacobsen. “They have a quality offense and a really great goalkeeper and backline. We knew we were going to have to battle hard. I think we did just that tonight and we capitalized on the chances they gave us.”
In the 89th minute, Ansley Cate got control of a long kick from Alexis Bach and passes it ahead for Katie Erwin. Erwin chases it down and finds herself 1v1 with a Rice defender. As she dribbled ahead into the box, Erwin picked up another Owls defender, but split the two to get free and fire a shot into the right side of the goal out of the keeper’s range.
“I think these two teams are quality teams on both ends,” said Erwin. “We both have great defensive efforts. In practice, going against that strong of a defense prepared us. We followed through in the scouting report and knew how to get through them.”
Coming into the match tied for the team’s lead in points, Jacobsen and Erwin remained tied with 10 points each. It was Jacobsen’s fourth goal of the season and Erwin’s third.
Bach had another impressive night in-goal for WKU, making three saves and breaking up several Rice attacks. It was her fifth clean sheet of the season. The shutout improved her goals against average to 0.54 through eight games.
The win continues WKU’s unbeaten streak in regular season conference games to 12 games. Since Oct. 20, 2019 the Toppers are 10-0-2 in regular season C-USA matches. It was also WKU’s first win against Rice since the 2016 season.
The Tops will be back at the WKU Soccer Complex on Friday, Oct. 8 against Old Dominion at 6 p.m. Admission to all WKU Soccer home games is free.
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