Tyler Poslosky

What looked to be a complete mismatch between the best team in the Mid-American Conference and a group of inexperienced newcomers panned out to be an interesting Senior Day for the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.

 

As the clock hit zero with the score tied at 1-1 between Ball State and Ohio, the Cardinals took their opponent to overtime for the second time in as many days. Hoping for a result similar to Saturday's game-winning goal from senior co-captain Devanny Kuhn, the Cardinals (4-13, 4-5) couldn't come through.

Just minutes into the extra period, the Cardinals were caught in a two-on-one fast break. Ohio's junior Laura Mastro powered a shot past Ball State senior goalkeeper Chelsea Mitchell for the game-winner.

Mitchell and senior defender Katie Norris stood in shock as Ohio rushed the field. Following the game, Mitchell said there was a lack of communication between her and Norris.

"Norris just had to stay on her girl and let me take the girl coming down with the ball," Mitchell said. "It just threw us off and that's why the [ball] went in."

After being blown out by Ohio on Oct. 1, Ball State wouldn't allow another route. The Cardinals threw everything they could at the Bobcats, who were caught off guard by the aggressive play.

"Ohio is a really good team," coach Beth Maddox said. "You know, they're in first place in the MAC and they work hard, have great experience, great knowledge and they execute at a high level. Our team has just been trying to push through, fight together and fight hard."

Both teams showcased a physical style of play and it was evident from the opening whistle. Players were constantly knocked to the ground, up-ended and tripped up.

Though she said she felt the officiating was subpar, Maddox doesn't believe her team was cheated in their 2-1 loss.

"Sometimes they [have an effect on the game]," Maddox said. "They're one of the uncontrollable aspects. They're human, so there are going to be mistakes sometimes and things you don't agree with. You just need to adjust accordingly. We need to execute and make the officials relevant. We just need to focus on our game."

Freshman Laura Malinoski, who evened the game at 1-1 with her fourth goal of the season, echoed her coach's statement.

"Coach always tells us to control only what you can control," Malinoski said. "You can't control their calls most of the time. You have to deal with it and keep focusing on what you can do to make people around you better. We lost that mentality a little bit."

A sound defensive second half allowed the Cardinals to keep the Bobcats offense at bay. Mitchell and Norris were constantly busy in the defensive zone, blocking shots coming from every direction.

"Our team was on point in the second half," Mitchell said. "We were feeding off each other's energy. When Norris would come up with a good [defensive] save, I would just feed off of that and that's what gave me the energy to go after the ball more in the second half."

Despite the unfavorable result, Maddox said her team will be better off with the experience they gained.

"We have the opportunity to learn from this and to make it better," Maddox said. "I'm not fazed by it. They fought hard today."