MUNCIE, Ind. -- Two goals in the first seven minutes Sunday propelled the Ball State soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Ohio on a rainy day at the Briner Sports Complex.
Leah Mattingly scored her first collegiate goal just 51 seconds into the game, and Michelle Blok added a score at the 6:17 mark to stake the Cardinals to an early two-goal lead.
Ohio managed to climb within one on a goal in the 73rd minute, but Ball State held off the Bobcats’ late charge to secure the win and improve to 8-3-1 overall (3-1 Mid-American Conference). Ohio dropped to 5-4-3 (1-2-1 MAC) with the loss.
Brooke Dennis played the full 90 minutes in goal for Ball State and made six saves, including several big ones in the second half. She made four of those saves after halftime as Ohio ramped up its attack.
“They were throwing more numbers forward in the second half,” Ball State coach Craig Roberts said. “We adapted and our girls maintained their composure. We had a couple breakaway chances to close out the game and really seal the deal, but we hung on and played strong to the end.”
It didn’t take long for Ball State to bounce back from its first MAC loss, which came earlier in the weekend against Kent State. The Cardinals applied early pressure and earned a corner kick less than a minute into the game. Cailey Starck lined it up and sent the ball sailing to the far post where Mattingly was there to knock it in. Starck’s assist was her fifth of the season, which leads the team.
Less than six minutes later, the Cardinals were on the attack again. Nicole Pembleton fired a shot that was blocked but came to rest at the feet of Maimee Morris. The senior captain sent a hard pass across the box and Blok deflected it into the left side of the net.
Ball State dominated play early, firing 14 shots in the first half to four for Ohio. But the Bobcats regrouped at halftime, changed up their formation and started to find some scoring opportunities. They finally broke through with a goal from Allison Cislo in the 73rd minute.
That one goal snuck past Dennis, but the freshman goalkeeper made a couple diving stops and defended some dangerous crosses to ensure Ohio would not find the equalizer.
Ball State managed a split of its weekend games to maintain the best overall record in the conference. In the MAC West Division, the Cardinals are a game behind Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan, both of which are 4-0 in league play.
Ball State will get its chance against both of those teams next weekend, traveling to face Eastern Michigan on Friday and Western Michigan on Sunday.