WKU closed out its preseason exhibition slate on Sunday afternoon at Murray State’s Cutchin Field, falling 2-0 against the Racers in its final tuneup before the regular season begins next week.
The Lady Toppers had scoring chances throughout the match with five shots on goal, but could not overcome a goal late in each half from Murray State.
Like Friday’s match at Saint Louis, the Lady Toppers gained extensive experience throughout their roster with 20 players seeing at least 10 minutes of action. Freshmen Tally Bishop and Avery Jacobsen drew their first collegiate starts, and five of the six freshmen who entered the match saw at least 34 minutes of playing time.
Sarah Gorham played the full 90 minutes for WKU and nearly gave the Lady Toppers an early lead as she put her first effort on frame in the 19th minute. Paige Goodman tallied a pair of shots for WKU, and Nahyo Jalajel, Bria Mosley, Victoria Mayo and Megan Morris each had one shot on goal.
Allison Leone had four saves in just over 78 minutes between the posts for the Lady Toppers, and Keely Vincent made two strong saves while playing the final 12 minutes of the match. Alex Steigerwald started and played 83 minutes for the Racers, making five saves and holding the Lady Toppers without a goal.
WKU came out strong over the opening seven minutes, pressuring Steigerwald into a pair of early saves. The first shot of the afternoon from Mosley nearly gave the Lady Toppers an early lead, and Jalajel’s chance four minutes later forced the keeper into action as well.
The Lady Toppers again had a chance to push ahead in the 26th minute off a corner kick. Lining up her second corner in less than a minute, Mayo found Goodman in space, but the freshman sent her shot just over the crossbar to maintain the deadlock.
Murray State took a 1-0 lead at the 35:03 mark off the foot of Kayla Travis, who collected a deflection inside the box and poked it past Leone to go out in front. WKU nearly pulled even just before the halftime break with two chances in the final 20 seconds, but Mayo’s shot was saved and Goodman’s effort went just to the right of the net.
Leone kept the Lady Toppers within one goal with a pair of saves in the second half, including a shot from Murray State’s Aaron Lankster in the 79th minute just before leaving the match. Vincent kept up the strong effort in her 12 minutes of play, twice stopping two-time Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year Harriet Withers on shots just two minutes apart.
The Racers tallied their second goal with five seconds remaining in the match on a cross into the box, allowing Karsyn Hasch to score for the final 2-0 decision.
WKU will open the regular season with road trips to Lipscomb (Friday, Aug. 18) and Texas (Sunday, Aug. 20) during its opening weekend of play next week. The Lady Toppers’ first home match is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27, against UT Martin, and WKU will offer free admission to all fans for each of the team’s nine home matches this season.
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Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Media Relations