Women’s Soccer secure comeback wins over Alderson Broaddus and University of Charleston


Hilltopper Sports

WLU women’s soccer gather inside Highland Sports Complex for doubleheader against University of Charleston.

In what was a pivotal week in their 2022 season, West Liberty University’s (WLU) women’s soccer team secured two comeback wins against Alderson Broaddus University and University of Charleston this week. With the season reaching its midway point, the Toppers find themselves in contention for a play-off spot as they sit fourth in the Mountain East Conference North Division. The top four teams from each division will progress to the postseason.

After a disappointing 3-0 loss to rivals Wheeling University and a weather disrupted away game against Notre Dame College, WLU knew they needed to get back to winning against the Battlers as they returned home on Wednesday night after a three game road stretch.

It was far from a perfect start for West Liberty as Jacqueline Garcia scored her first goal of the season to give Alderson Broaddus the lead after 22 minutes. However, the Toppers were reluctant to let the game slip away from them. Freshman forward Amelia Compston came closest to equalizing as her close range effort hit the crossbar and the introduction of Anne Williams gave the home side more of a threat going forward. With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, West Liberty’s offense had too much to handle for the Battlers as Compston tied the score at 1-1 with a close-range header courtesy of an Isabella Bankovich free-kick.

Head Coach Barry Christmas’ team started right where they left off in the second half as they pushed towards a first win in four games. Bankovich turned from provider to scorer this time as she scored her first career goal directly from a free kick to give WLU the 2-1 lead. With the visitors chasing the game, the Hilltoppers gave an assured defensive performance in the second half to secure their first comeback win in 15 games.

Next up was another home game against the Golden Eagles of Charleston, which was scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. at the West Family Athletic Complex but had to be rearranged to be played at 5:30 p.m. at the Highlands Soccer Complex due to areas of their home field being waterlogged. The game took place indoors and it took the Hilltoppers a while to adjust to the unfamiliar surroundings as Charleston took the lead after just five minutes after capitalizing on penalty kick, meaning WLU had conceded the first goal for the 13th time in 16 matches.

The visitors were largely on top for the first 45 minutes, recording 12 shots to West Liberty’s one, but the WLU defense held out leaving the half time score at 1-0.

It was a tale of two halves as the home side came out with a much improved second half performance, putting the Golden Eagles’ defense under pressure from the first whistle. It was a Bankovich free-kick once again that led to another West Liberty goal as Claire Kelly headed in her second goal of the season to tie the game within 60 minutes on the clock.

The game was evenly poised with 10 minutes left as freshman defender Marissa Knouff produced an astonishing strike from 20 yards out to score her first career goal, giving the Hilltoppers a 2-1 lead. The last ten minutes proved to be a very nervy watch as Charleston relentlessly attacked the West Liberty goal. Goalkeeper Zara Wickett and the WLU defense once again came out on top as they secured their second comeback win in two games.

West Liberty now has an MEC record of 3-3-1 as they prepare to travel to Institute, WV for a tough match against West Virginia State University on Wednesday night. With eight games remaining in their season, the Hilltoppers will be looking to continue on their good run of form and push for an MEC playoff spot for the first time since 2018.