Following a win over Murray State in its preseason opener, Western Kentucky's women's soccer team will conclude its three-match exhibition set with two more home matches this weekend, taking on Wright State (Friday at 6 p.m.) and Austin Peay (Sunday at 6 p.m.) at the WKU Soccer Complex.

This weekend’s matches will mark the first events broadcast via WKU Sports’ expanded partnership with the Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network. Both matches will be streamed live on the HSSN Facebook page and will be available for free to all fans. Brett Williams and Sydney Doughty will have the call against the Raiders and Lady Govs.

In its first live match action of the season on Wednesday, WKU knocked off preseason OVC favorite Murray State in a 2-0 victory, with goals from Ambere Barnett and Ashley Leonard securing the win. Five of WKU’s newcomers saw their first action in the match, and Anne-Marie Ulliac and Ashley Kobylinski each played a half in goal, combining for eight saves to share the shutout.

Among WKU’s newcomers in the field, Sydney Ernst, Logan Barber, Taylor Stanley and Katie Erwin all played at least 30 minutes against the Racers, with Stanley nearly notching a goal in her WKU debut. Along WKU’s back line, Christina Bragado, Kaylyn Bryant and Avery Jacobsen each played the full 90 minutes while contributing to the shutout.

Wright State finished the 2018 season with a 6-9-2 record overall, but a 5-3-1 mark in Horizon League play before falling against Detroit Mercy in its conference tournament opener. The Raiders lost their top two leading scorers in Aaliyah Patten and Mattie Cutts from a season ago, but bring back third-leading scorer Erin Graefen, who scored five points despite starting only three matches. 

In goal, Maddie Jewell returns for Wright State after starting all 17 matches in 2018, making 65 saves while allowing 28 goals in 1,567 minutes of action for a goals against average of 1.61.

Austin Peay dropped its exhibition opener last Monday afternoon in a 1-0 setback against Georgia State. The Lady Govs were 8-8-1 last season and return leading scorer Claire Larose (seven goals in 2018), but managed only 22 goals across 17 matches.

Both goalkeepers from last season return for the Lady Govs, as Mary Parker Powell (1,383 minutes) and Peyton Powell (172 minutes) saw extensive playing time. The duo combined for 67 saves while allowing 22 goals, pairing for a 1.27 goals against average.

Following this weekend’s matches, WKU will kick off the regular season next Thursday evening at 7 p.m. as Belmont makes the short trip to the WKU Soccer Complex. WKU has never dropped a match against the Bruins in a series that dates back to 2008, holding a 4-0-1 record that includes a 3-0 shutout win in the last regular season meeting on Sept. 17, 2016.

– Follow sports editor Jeff Nations on Twitter @Jeff_NationsBG or visit bgdailynews.com.

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