WKU Soccer closed its 2017 non-conference slate on Sunday afternoon at the WKU Soccer Complex, ending a four-match homestand with a 1-0 setback against Samford.
The Bulldogs (2-5-1) took an early lead in the sixth minute on a headed effort by Jermaine Seoposenwe off a corner kick, and WKU (3-4) had to search for an equalizer for the next 84 minutes while facing the one-goal deficit. The Lady Toppers nearly pulled even with strong chances in the second half, but could not overcome the early hole.
Chandler Backes and Hannah Chua each notched a pair of shots and a shot on goal apiece on Sunday afternoon, while freshmen Paige Goodman and Deven Jackson also had one shot each. For Samford, Seoposenwe, Kaitlyn Orman and Erin Bonner each had a match-high three chances, and Seoposenwe was the lone player with multiple shots on goal.
In goal, Allison Leone finished the match with seven saves, her second-most in a single match this season, and played the full 90 minutes for the Lady Toppers. For Samford, Anna Maddox also played the full 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon, earning the shutout victory with a pair of saves.
WKU fought off an early corner kick in the fourth minute from the Bulldogs, but Samford capitalized on its second opportunity from the right flag two minutes later. Kaitlyn Orman’s corner kick found the head of Seoposenwe, who sent the chance into the upper right corner of the net to give the Bulldogs an early 1-0 advantage.
Backes nearly brought the Lady Toppers level at the 15:16 mark after a strong buildup through the midfield for WKU. Played through from the left side, the sophomore broke free from her defender and launched a shot toward goal, but the chance dribbled just wide right of the front of the goal and did not press Maddox into action.
Over the final 20 minutes of the first half, Leone made a trio of strong saves to keep the Lady Toppers within one goal heading into the intermission. The final save, in the 35th minute, saw Leone deny the goalscorer Seoposenwe on a shot from the top of the box; neither side was able to put a shot on goal over the final 10 minutes and Samford carried a 1-0 lead into the break.
Set up by an Aleksandra Kozovic corner kick, Chua provided an early offensive spark for the Lady Toppers in the second half. Finding space 20 yards out after gaining control of the ball, the senior fired toward goal but sent the chance just over the bar to end the early offensive threat.
Samford’s Nyalyn Moore came close to putting WKU into a 2-0 hole in the 68th minute. Following a scrum inside the box, Moore fired to her left and pinged a shot off the left post and back into play, but Samford was immediately whistled offside as the WKU defense held firm after the strike.
Much like Friday’s match against Vanderbilt, Backes provided WKU’s best chance to level the match very late in the second half. After being bottled up with her back to a defender inside the box, the Carmel, Ind., native spun to her right and immediately tried to curl a shot on goal at the 84:45 mark. Backes’ effort forced a diving save from Maddox and gave WKU another corner kick opportunity, but the Lady Toppers could not find a late goal despite strong pressure down the stretch.
WKU will open C-USA play on Friday evening at 6 p.m. (CT) in Norfolk, Va., as the Lady Toppers battle Old Dominion. WKU will be seeking its first victory in the series against the Monarchs, having dropped a pair of one-goal decisions in both 2014 and 2016; in the three seasons since joining C-USA, the Lady Toppers hold a 2-1 record in conference openers, including a 1-0 shutout win at Marshall last season.
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Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Athletic Communications