Western Kentucky's Barnett named All-Region First Team

Photo courtesy of Steve Roberts/WKU Athletics Western Kentucky's Ambere Barnett takes a shot during a 2019 Conference USA game. The former Owensboro Catholic High School star was recently voted to the United Coaches Soccer All-Region First Team and was the only sophomore to be so honored.

Ambere Barnett's prominence as a collegiate soccer player continues to rise.

This week, the Western Kentucky University midfielder was selected to the United Soccer Coaches All-Region First Team, and was the only sophomore so chosen.

"I wasn't even aware I was being considered for this," said Barnett, a Rockport, Indiana native who starred in high school for Owensboro Catholic. "Once I was informed, it was really nice to see. It's an honor."

This past fall, Barnett's play helped the Lady Toppers go 10-7-1 overall and 6-4 in Conference USA -- a significant improvement over her freshman season on the Hill, when WKU was 5-8-4 overall and 3-5-2 within the league.

"Our chemistry was amazing both my freshman and sophomore seasons -- we had good leaders," Barnett said "We did a lot of building last season and we did a lot more building this season. Everyone gave 100% and I think this year we had a really strong desire to win."

Barnett, of course, did her part -- tying for the team lead with 22 points after scoring five goals and dishing a team-high six assists. She emerged as the league's leading shot-taker (4.28 per game). She started all 18 matches and led WKU in minutes played with 1,480.

She also drew increased attention from opposing defenses.

"It was a little different this season," Barnett said. "Last year, I feel like I kind of made a name for myself and it was a little bit different this season, but that just inspired me work even harder, and I kind of like that -- I still played my same game."

Barnett, who produced team-highs of seven goals and eight assists as a Lady Topper freshman, believes it is an exciting time to be part of the WKU program.

"We're continuing to get better," Barnett said. "I'm excited to see what happens from here on out. It was cool to see the difference between my freshman and sophomore seasons, and it will be cool to see how much we can move forward next season."

And, the 2020 season will feature another familiar area name within the WKU program -- Daviess County High School standout Kenlee Newcom.

"We've got some really good freshmen coming in, and I want to give a shout-out to Kenlee Newcom," Barnett said. "I love having people I know on the team, and she's going to be a great addition. She's kind of like a little sister to me, and I'm looking forward to playing with her and not against her."

This winter, Barnett plans to do some indoor work with the Nashville Rhythm, her summer travel team.

"Always trying to get better," Barnett said. "One day at a time."

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