FIELD HOCKEY: Ball State's season ends with 2-1 loss to Miami
Cardinals fall in first round of MAC Tournament
ATHENS, Ohio — With the odds in its favor against a team it had swept during the regular season, Ball State was looking to go three-for-three against Miami and advance to play top-seeded Ohio in the Mid-American Conference tournament.
When the final whistle blew, Ball State was left in complete shock with a scoreboard that read 2-1 . Senior captains Devanny Kuhn and Gretchen Lulow stood at the far end of Pruitt Field, hugging each other as tears ran down their faces.
In disbelief, Kuhn and Lulow packed their bags for the last time and treaded slowly toward the bus, knowing they had played their last game.
"Miami brought it today," coach Beth Maddox said. "They really wanted to compete and they did. Some things just didn't go in the direction we were anticipating, which caused it to be more difficult than normal."
Prior to Thursday's tournament opener, Maddox gave her opponent a lot of credit. Even though the Cardinals had success against the RedHawks, Maddox said it was anyone's game.
The Cardinals, who were favorites to beat the RedHawks were outplayed in the second half, despite taking a one-goal lead after freshman forward Kaitlin Thompson's second-career goal.
But the RedHawks fought their way back. After being awarded a pair of penalty corners within the span of five minutes, the momentum shifted.
Senior Amanda Seeley got the insert and poked the ball past Ball State goalkeeper Chelsea Mitchell to nod the game at 1-1.
After the first score, Seeley and the rest of the RedHawks felt a sense of urgency to score again.
"We're down and it's a big game," Seeley said. "On those corner plays, we've been practicing all week and those are where I like to be, those pressure situations. We took advantage as a team to sink some goals and [get] the win."
Before the Cardinals had a chance to catch their breath, the RedHawks struck again on the exact same play. Seeley received the ball from the insert and fired it passed Mitchell to give the RedHawks their first lead of the game.
The Cardinals were broken. Their spirit shattered. The offense went cold and the defense collapsed. When the clock hit zero, the reality of a 2-1 season-ending loss began to sink in.
"Our defense got a little bit frazzled, which is not awesome," Maddox said. "[Miami was] relentless in all areas. There's no comfort at all. It's nervous the whole time. They deserved to beat us today."