Hannah Chua scored her first two goals of the season, one in each half, on Senior Night and capped the evening with a proposal from WKU Football safety Marcus Ward as the Lady Toppers took down Marshall, 2-1, on Friday evening at the WKU Soccer Complex.
The senior from Claremont, Calif., had one of the finest matches of her career on The Hill, scoring in the 11th and 61st minute to propel the Lady Toppers to the important victory. With the win, its fourth straight, WKU now has 13 points in C-USA play and is tied with Charlotte for the eighth and final qualifying spot for the 2017 C-USA Tournament. A win or draw on Sunday at UAB would secure WKU’s spot in next week’s tournament hosted by Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla.
WKU’s five seniors; Chua, Allison Leone, Bria Mosley, Nahyo Jalajel and Shayna Dheel; were each honored in a post-match ceremony following the victory. During her recognition, Chua was surprised on the field by Ward, who knelt down at center field and proposed to the senior midfielder.
WKU outshot the Thundering Herd 10-9 on Friday evening as Chua led all players with her pair of shots on goal. Chandler Backes, Mosley and Nicole Roseland also tallied assists on Chua’s strikes.
In goal, Leone played the full 90 minutes for the Lady Toppers, making three saves to keep Marshall’s attack at bay for long stretches of the match.
Mary Lawman had a match-high four shots for the Thundering Herd and was one of four Marshall players with one shot on goal apiece. Megan Bonelli played the full match between the posts for the Thundering Herd, making four saves and allowing Chua’s pair of goals in the losing effort.
Mosley opened the match with the first shot of the night just under six minutes after first kick, nearly giving the Lady Toppers a very early advantage over the Thundering Herd. Five minutes later, that advantage came to fruition as Chua found the back of the net for the first time in 2017. Mosley slotted a long pass on the ground into the box from the right side that was stopped by Backes. Chua slammed the stalled pass into the back of the net at the 10:48 mark to put WKU up 1-0.
Three corner kick opportunities over a 10-minute span offered Marshall a chance to equalize, but the only two chances created by the set pieces in the 31st and 36th minutes were blocked away by WKU defenders.
The Thundering Herd equalized with eight seconds remaining before the halftime break. Ashley Seltzer’s long shot from outside the box was slapped away by Leone, however Miller corralled the rebound as the goalkeeper was attempting to recover and slotted the chance home, sending the two sides into the locker room knotted at 1-1.
Just over two minutes into the second half, Marshall nearly netted the go-ahead goal off the foot of Mary Lawman, but Leone refused to be beaten for a second time on Senior Night, stonewalling the Thundering Herd attack with a strong save.
Chua struck again at the 60:47 mark, set up by another cross into the box. Roseland found space along the right side of the goal line and slipped a pass in to Chua, who one-timed her effort past Bonelli to put the Lady Toppers back in front, 2-1, with a half-hour remaining.
A flurry of corner kicks from Aleksandra Kozovic gave the Lady Toppers a chance to double their advantage with 15 minutes remaining, but the offense was unable to generate a shot off the trio of set pieces.
Despite Marshall’s efforts to push up for an equalizer over the final 10 minutes, WKU’s defense held strong and clinched the critical 2-1 victory in its search for a spot in the C-USA Tournament.
WKU will conclude the 2017 regular season on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. as the Lady Toppers travel south to square off against UAB. Sunday’s match was originally scheduled for October 8, but was rescheduled due to inclement weather associated with Hurricane Nate.
– @WKUSports –
Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Athletic Communications
Women’s Basketball | Women’s Soccer