SOCCER: Ball State remains undefeated in 2-0 win over Tennessee Tech
The Daily News
“We were very pleased,” head coach Craig Roberts said. “We took our chances when we needed to.”
In all of its four wins, Ball State has attacked in waves to wear the opposition down, until finally breaking through.
In the first half, Ball State looked as tested as much as it had been all season. The first 20 minutes were a war of attrition, as both teams prodded and probed, but neither were able to generate any real threats.
Once again, it took Roberts going to his bench for the Cardinals to break through. On the carrousel of offensive players being mixed and matched this season, bench players have generated a majority of Ball State’s offense, as substitutes have scored seven of Ball State’s 10 goals.
Roberts brought in sophomores Kalynn Flanagan and Elaina Musleh and freshman Kelsey Wendlandt. The trio has been an integral part to Ball State’s success offensively.
In the 29th minute, junior defender Cailey Starck teed up a free kick from just inside midfield that found the head of senior midfielder Michelle Blok. Blok’s header trickled to the feet of Wendlandt, who found the back of the net for her team-leading third goal of the season, not long after being substituted in.
Despite shooting 22 times, Ball State scored only once more.
Going into the game, Roberts said attacking down the wings against Tennessee Tech’s defense would be a focal point of Ball State’s offense. The Golden Eagles play with two defensive midfielders in front of their central defenders, making the inner part of the field congested.
Ball State’s second goal came from sophomore midfielder Madison Oyer’s assist. Her individual spurt of brilliance had her juke a few Tennessee Tech defenders until she reached the touchline. Oyer laced a pass through the six-yard box, and Musleh ran on to tap in her first goal of the season in the 63rd minute.
Even with the win and domination of the box score, Roberts said he would have like to see a more complete performance from his team.
“I would have liked to have seen us be a little bit more consistent to the end,” he said. “I think we took it for granted a little bit.”
One facet that has remained constant for Ball State has been the defense. Anchored by senior Kelsey Shapiro, who has played all minutes this season, Ball State posted its third shutout of the year.
“We’re just trying to do our job,” Shapiro said. “If we keep the ball in front of us, then the team will be playing good soccer.”
Ball State’s defense stifled Tennessee Tech’s offensive juggernaut Ellie Iaciofano. Iaciofano came into the game with three goals in five games, and had eight goals last season.
Iaciofano only recorded two shots and Tennessee Tech only had eight as a team.
“Every team presents different challenges, and we need to keep moving forward in order to meet them,” Roberts said.