Tyler Poslosky

Check out a photo gallery about the game against Missouri State.

As Kaitlin Thompson entered the game as a substitute in the 60th minute of the Mid-American Conference game against Missouri State, she wasn't anticipating what was about to unfold.

"When I go in, it's usually to give someone else a break," Thompson, a freshman forward, said. "So when I go in, it's usually seven to 10 minutes of all my energy."

Four minutes after she entered the game, Thompson received the ball off a deflection in front of the Missouri State goalkeeper and buried it for the game-winning goal.

Initially, Thompson couldn't believe what happened. After taking a second to realize the importance of the play, she jumped up and down in excitement, knowing she won the game.

"Coach sent me in and said we need [some] fire out there and do whatever it takes to get a goal," Thompson said. "We set up our corner and it didn't go exactly how we expected. Because their fly was so fast, we had to send it off to another person to shoot and [it] kind of just bobbled off people and I got it. I just took a hit and luckily it went in."

Thompson's mindset was to get the ball in the goal, and her first career-goal couldn't have come at a more opportune time.

"To get a goal and a goal that important, it made me feel really good," she said. "Once I figured out everything and gave it a second to sink in [was] when I realized how excited I was."

The Cardinals hung on for the 3-2 win and capped what coach Beth Maddox said was a good weekend for her team.

Ball State got off to a strong start against Missouri State. Senior backfielder Gretchen Lulow notched her second goal of the season after freshman midfielder Sanne Hermans set up the play with a perfect pass. The score gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, but the Bears evened the game just six minutes later.

Freshman backfielder Laura Malinoski gave the Cardinals a one-goal lead at the half with her second score in the last three games.

Prior to Ball State's second goal, Lulow went down after taking a ball off her foot. The injury limited Lulow for the rest of the game, but the Cardinals co-captain insisted she will recover in time for next Sunday's game at Central Michigan.

"I don't really know what's wrong with it," Lulow said. "It got me right on the bone. It's just not comfortable to put weight on it right now. I should be fine. I think it's just a bruise, no big deal."

Despite Lulow's injury, the Cardinals continued to square off with the Bears, who brought an aggressive, physical style of play to Muncie.

The final two minutes proved to be the most chaotic for the Cardinals. Missouri State was constantly pressuring Ball State's defense and testing senior goalkeeper Chelsea Mitchell.

With seven seconds to go, Bears sophomore forward Hillary Lawless fired a clean shot in the direction of the Cardinals' goal. It appeared the shot was heading toward the back of the net, but Mitchell darted to her right and made a diving save to preserve Thompson's game-winning goal.

"It was a scrappy game," Lulow said. "Missouri State is known for putting up a good fight and we battled back today. We pushed through it and came out with a win. Everyone fought hard out there and it came out in our favor."