WKU held Texas off the board over the final 45 minutes on Sunday afternoon at Mike A. Myers Stadium, but two first-half goals from the Longhorns were the difference as the Lady Toppers dropped a 2-0 decision to close the opening weekend of play of the 2017 season.
Goalkeeper Allison Leone turned in a strong performance with nine saves on the afternoon, falling just shy of her career-best mark of 11 stops against Sacred Heart as a freshman on Sept. 14, 2014. Seven of Leone’s stops came in the opening 45 minutes of play as she kept the Lady Toppers within striking distance of the Longhorns throughout the match.
Hannah Chua and Christina Bragado each played the full 90 minutes in the field for WKU, and Nicole Roseland registered her first shot of the season in the 61st minute of play. For Texas, Amber Stearns and Katie Glenn each tallied four shots, while Stearns and Emily Strouphauer found the back of the net for the Longhorns.
Leone was forced into action early in the match, making three saves over the first 15 minutes as the Longhorns fired the first seven shots of the afternoon. Despite three corner kick opportunities over that same frame, the WKU defense held strong and did not allow the early breakthrough for Texas.
Texas’ Stearns broke the deadlock in the 19th minute, heading home a cross from the left wing set up by a corner kick. Glenn and Kayra Dollas picked up the assists on the goal as the Lady Toppers fell behind 1-0.
WKU sought to battle back and again held Texas off the board for more than 20 minutes, but Strouphauer doubled the Longhorns’ advantage with just over three minutes remaining before the halftime break on a strong shot from outside the box. Despite 14 shots from Texas in the first half, WKU entered the locker room trailing only 2-0.
Over the final 45 minutes, Leone again came up big for the Lady Toppers, parrying away two attempts on goal as the WKU defense limited the Longhorns to just seven shots. WKU could not convert its opportunity off Roseland’s attempt in the 61st minute, however, and could not trim the deficit in the second half of the 2-0 setback.
WKU will be back on the pitch next Friday evening at 7 p.m. as the Lady Toppers close out their season-opening road swing at Austin Peay. WKU owns a 7-0-1 all-time record against the Lady Govs, including a dramatic 2-1 victory in Bowling Green on Sept. 2, 2016, last season that saw Bria Mosley score the match-winning goal just 14 seconds into the first overtime period.
The Lady Toppers will play their first home match of 2017 at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27, against UT Martin at the WKU Soccer Complex. For the 2017 season, all fans of WKU Soccer will receive free admission to all nine home matches, including five C-USA tilts later in the season.
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Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Athletic Communications