Conor Hockett

Restricted to a fan's perspective in Sunday's game at Ohio, Ball State coach Craig Roberts was watching for more than results from his team.

He wanted to see how the Cardinals would react without hands-on instruction and motivation from him during the game. Roberts couldn't coach after being ejected from Friday's match for getting two yellow cards.

While Ball State didn't win, Roberts said he did see the team apply his teaching on the field during Sunday's 1-1 draw at Ohio.

"Once we got over the first few minutes of the game, I was very pleased with the performance," Roberts said. "I thought they carried out the instruction that was given. We were very unfortunate not to win the game."

Ohio's first few minutes provided a game's worth of frustrations for Ball State after the Bobcats scored a goal less than three minutes into the game.

Senior goalkeeper Aubrey Buehler could only deflect a laser off the foot of Ohio's Holly Harris and the rebound fell to Liz Finley. The sophomore forward scored to give the home team a quick advantage.

"It was a tremendous shot, and they scored off that," Roberts said. "But as time went on, we dominated possession and the game."

With a 30-13 shot advantage in the match, the statistics certainly showed it. But like most games this season, finding an answer to Ball State's scoring problems isn't easy.

"I think we need to have harder shots on net and take advantage of the goalies rebounds," sophomore forward Nicole Pembleton said. "We find most of the time the goalie makes rebounds. Just by following in as much as we can, we can try scoring more goals that way."

That strategy worked for Pembleton on Sunday. Off a ball sent into the box by senior defender Amanda Dreyfus, Pembleton put away Ball State's only goal of the game in the 52nd minute.

"It was a great cross into a dangerous area in the box," Roberts said. "The goalkeeper punched it away, and it landed at Nicole's feet. It was just a natural forward's instinct, and she struck the ball. She did what she needed to do and put it away."

The teams went scoreless over the remaining 58 minutes and tied after two overtimes.

After losing to Kent State 2-0 on Friday, Ball State's first Mid-American Conference road trip dropped the Cardinals record to 5-4-3 (2-1-1 in the conference).

Despite controlling play for long stretches in Sunday's game, Pembleton said a draw wasn't a total disappointment. Points are what everyone in the MAC is after at this point.

"It's frustrating, but we'll take a tie on the road all day," Pembleton said. "We just need points on the road and win our games at home. It's frustrating tying when we're the better team, but we'll be good with that."
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