BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Five Western Kentucky University seniors made their final game on the WKU Soccer Complex a special one as the Lady Toppers (11-4-2, 6-1-2) defeated conference leader North Texas (13-4-2, 8-1-1) 2-0 on Sunday at the WKU Soccer Complex.
WKU is the only team in the Sun Belt Conference to shutout the Mean Green this season and only the third overall this season. WKU also shutout the Mean Green in last year's conference tournament semifinal game, winning in penalty kicks. It marked the league leading eighth shutout of the season for the Lady Toppers, who posted their 21st shutout in the last two years.
Seniors Amanda Buechel (Cincinnati, Ohio), Lauren Crowder (Germantown, Tenn.), Courtney Rymer (Nashville, Tenn.), Christen Sims (Madison, Ala.) and Ali Stahlke (Naperville, Ill.) were honored in a pregame ceremony at the WKU Soccer Complex in front of 308 fans, the highest attended home game of the season.
The emotions of Senior Day festivities led to a difficult opening to the game for the Lady Toppers. North Texas' best scoring chance of the game came in the second minute when Tess Graham's shot was saved by junior Andrea Curry (Fairfield, Ohio) following a corner kick. After taking two shots in the opening two minutes, the Mean Green scattered just five in the final 88 minutes of play as the WKU backline of Stahlke, junior Torrie Lange (Florence, Ky.) and Stephanie Lindsey (Indianapolis, Ind.) limited quality scoring opportunities for the Mean Green.
WKU took a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute when Stahlke launched a free kick from around 35 yards out over the outstretched arm of North Texas keeper Jackie Kerestine. It was the second straight game that the Naperville native and WKU defender had found the back of the goal off a set piece. It was her third goal of the season and fifth in her WKU career.
WKU would later add cushion to the lead when freshman Lauren Moats (Nixa, Mo.) found the back of the net in the 42nd minute. Sophomore Nicholette Sartori (Malabar, Fla.) and Moats were able to connect for the score on a two versus one situation where Moats found her way past the keeper for the score.
Freshman keeper Nikki Hall (Cincinnati, Ohio) recorded her seventh complete-game shutout of the season, becoming just the seventh player in program history to achieve the feat. Another shutout by the keeper will align her with former Lady Topper Libby Stout at the only players in program history to record eight or more shutouts in a single season. Hall has been the keeper of record in every WKU game this season.
In 11 wins this season, WKU has now outscored opponents 29-3.
WKU was 6-2-1 at home during the 2012 season, including an unbeaten 4-0-1 in conference. The two losses were to Southeastern Conference foes Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Having already clinched a spot in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Tournaments, the North Texas game represented one of two final chances to prepare for the upcoming event. WKU will be either a three seed or four seed in the tournament. The Lady Toppers will close out the regular season on Oct. 26 at Middle Tennessee before heading to Mobile, Ala. for the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Tournament, hosted by South Alabama. Opening round games are set for Oct. 31.
For complete coverage of WKU Soccer, visit the official website of WKU Athletics at www.wkusports.com.