TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Ball State soccer team improved to 8-0-0 all-time against instate foe Indiana State Friday night with a thrilling, come-from-behind 2-1 victory in double overtime against the Sycamores at Memorial Stadium. Freshman Pavla Benyrova (Prague, Czech Republic/Gymnasium Prague 9), who played for the Czech Republic National team, scored the highlight-reel, game-winning goal in the 105th minute of play to send the Cardinals to victory.
“Obviously this was a good win for us tonight,” second-year head coach Craig Roberts said. “To come from behind on the road and win in double overtime is a testament to our team’s resiliency. The game-winning goal by Pavla was a thing of beauty and a world-class effort.”
Ball State (2-2-0) controlled the action in the second overtime and its pressure paid dividends on the game-winning tally. Junior midfielder Alyssa Ables (Huntertown, Ind./Shattuck St. Mary’s) forced an ISU turnover in the midfield and slotted a pass across the field to Benyrova. She ran onto the ball and ripped a scorching shot from 40 yards out past Supulski into the side netting for her first career goal to clinch the Cardinals first road win of the season.
The two teams battled evenly in the scoreless first half as both teams posted two shots on goal. Indiana State had the best scoring chance of the first half as forward Alison Gasparovic got behind the Cardinals defense on a breakaway. Junior goalkeeper Aubrey Buehler (Waukesha, Wis./UT-Martin) stepped up and stone Gasparovic on the break form 10 yards out to keep the game scoreless.
The Cardinals best scoring opportunity of the half came in the 17th minute of play. Freshman forward Hannah Chadick (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley Northwest) found some room inside the box and ripped a shot from 15 yards out that ISU goalkeeper Brianna Supulski was able to knock it down to keep the scoreboard clear.
Indiana State scored the game’s first goal in 59th minute as it used a counter attack to find the back of the net. Natalie Vaught drove down the left side and sent a cross into the box where Gasparovic was able to get her head on the ball from eight yards out and flick it over Buehler’s head for the 1-0 Sycamore lead.
Ball State battled back and tied the game in the 69th minute of action. Ables forced an ISU turnover in the midfield and sent a long pass through the Sycamore defense where it found junior forward Shaniece Thorpe (Westmoreland, Jamaica/W. Va. Institute of Technology) in behind the defense. Thorpe took the pass and dribbled around Supulski before deposited it into the empty net for her second career goal and first of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
Ables and Thorpe came within inches of combing once again in the 72nd minute. Ables made a run down the right side and sent a cross into the box where two Cardinals were waiting for the pass. Thorpe got her head on the cross but Supulski was able to corral the shot to keep the game tied.
Ball State looked to ready to take the lead in the 86th minute taking advantage of an ISU miscue. Freshman midfielder Becca Sutton Channahon, Ill. (Minooka Community) got behind the Sycamore goalkeeper after an errant back-pass from ISU. Sutton was pulled down on the six-yard line in the box as she let a shot go that was deflected out of play for a corner kick with no foul called.
Indiana State had a pair of strong chances in the final two minutes of regulation but Buehler stepped up both times to stone Gasparovic from close range to force extra time. The Cardinals controlled play for most of the season half as they peppered Supulski with nine second-half shots.
Ball State had the best opportunity in the first overtime as it was awarded a free kick in the 96th minute. Junior Paige Stroinski (Granger, Ind./Penn) ripped a shot from 28-yards out that was just deflected wide of the goal. The Cardinals only had two shots in the second overtime period but made the most of their chances with Benyrova scoring just 4:26 into the frame. Buehler picked up her first win of the season in goal for the Cardinals as she made five saves.
Ball State continues its road weekend Sunday afternoon as it travels to Cincinnati to battle regional foe Xavier at 1 p.m.