WKU Soccer faces final tune up against in-state Murray State


An early goal from Loren Moats and key defense from a freshman goalie lead WKU soccer to win their first exhibition game of the season, and today the Lady Tops will get right back at it again, and at home for the first time here in 2014 as the in-state Murray State Races make the trip to Bowling Green.

The Racers will also represent the second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference team WKU will face, and after defeating the two-time defending champ, they’ll face a Racer squad who was picked to finish ninth in the 11 school OVC, garnering just 82 total points (trailing Eastern Kentucky by two points). This will be the only exhibition the Racers play before beginning the season on Friday against our old pals in Jonesboro, Arkansas St.

Returning for her senior year is forward Julie Mooney, who lead Murray St. in goals and assists (seven each) as well as total points with 21, and was one of only three players to start every game last year. Also returning is Racer keeper Savannah Haberman, who started all but one of the games in her freshman campaign last year, and played all but 54 minutes in 2013. Haberman finished her first year of college soccer with a save percentage at 81% and made 111 saves throughout the year, allowing in 26 goals. She’ll be looking to improve upon a 6-10-1 record.

For the Lady Tops, the objective of the day is simple – get more opportunities. On Friday night, UT-Martin outshot WKU 18-9, but thankfully the Tops’ defense were able to keep a clean sheet. That can’t happen night in and night out, and WKU is going to have to take more shots, or limit opponent opportunities. Head coach Jason Neidell noted in his post game comments that more opportunities will come with keeping possession better:

"I thought in the second half, we weren’t very organized defensively, and we were having trouble keeping possession of the ball when we got it. But I will tell you that we’ve played UT-Martin the last three years in preseason, and for me, that’s the best team they’ve put out here.                                                                                          – Coach Neidell"

Coach Neidell used a 4-3-3 against the Skyhawks, and it’ll be interesting to see if he keeps with that today, as well as throughout the year, and if he will change some of his parings leading up to Friday’s season opener. I also expect to see Ballard High School’s Alex Hoefler to start, and most likely play, all 90 minutes today, after Leone played Friday and kept the clean sheet. Simple common sense tells me if Hoefler lets a goal in today, Leone is the starter come Friday.