Ambere Barnett continues to have success on the soccer pitch.

Now a sophomore at Western Kentucky, Barnett is a preseason selection for the All-Conference USA team -- the only Lady Topper on the list.

But Barnett, a native of nearby Rockport, Indiana and a high school star at Owensboro Catholic, is quick to deflect personal accolades -- instead, giving credit to her teammates and coaches.

"There is a transition going from high school to college, for sure," said Barnett, a 5-foot-7 attacking midfielder. "And, I couldn't have been as successful as I was (as a freshman) without the help of my teammates and coaches.

"The game is a lot faster at the college level, and I used last year's exhibition season to get accustomed to it. By the time the regular season started, I felt like I was pretty much ready to go."

And go, Barnett did.

As a freshman, Barnett scored seven goals, dished eight assists and scored 22 points -- tied for the seventh-most points in a single season in WKU history and the most by any Lady Topper since 2012.

"I just tried to approach each game as I always have," Barnett said. "I try to visualize what I'm going to do in the game, and then I just go out and try to play the best I can play. It's a pretty simple approach for me -- it's about being prepared and doing the best I can do."

And not getting ahead of herself.

"You have to take things one game at a time," she said. "There's no other way to approach it."

Last season, WKU finished 5-8-4 overall and 3-5-2 in C-USA. The Lady Toppers were particularly strong in Bowling Green, going 4-0-4.

Barnett believes Western -- which opens the 2019 season Thursday against visiting Belmont -- will take a step forward this fall, despite being picked to finish 10th in the 14-team league. Of WKU's 32 goals scored last season, 23 were produced by players returning this fall.

"This is a good group and we're going to come out strong this season," Barnett said. "We work well together on the field and we get along together off the field, so, definitely, the chemistry on our team is very good."

Barnett, meanwhile, treasured her time at Owensboro Catholic.

"I miss those days, and I still talk to so many of the girls," she said. "I miss not being able to see them all the time because we were like a family.

"At the same time, we've become like a family (at Western), too, so I consider this my new family, and I'm very excited about being here."

An elementary education major, Barnett is hoping to one day teach at the K-3 level, and perhaps coach.

For now, though, she is content with enjoying her college career as a Lady Topper.

"Things are going well for me here," Barnett said. "I'm just trying to be the best player I can be and help our team become the best we can be.

"I believe all of us are moving in the right direction."

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