Ball State's sophomore defender Leah Mattingly attempts to gain the ball from Bowling Green's Madison Schupbach during the game against Bowling Green at the Briner Sports Complex on Sept. 26. DN PHOTO TAYLOR IRBY
SOCCER: Late goal lifts Ball State over defending MAC Champion
With just under five minutes left in a rematch of the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championship between Ball State and Western Michigan, the score was tied 0-0.
Strong defenses, gusts of wind and multiple fouls took away many scoring opportunities for both teams.
At the 87-minute mark, a mistake by Western Michigan gave Ball State a corner kick and an opportunity at goal. As both teams got set up in the box, Ball State’s Lauren Hall made a quick prediction to Leah Mattingly on how it would end.
“She turned to me and told me that I was going to be the one to get it, and [I] really didn’t think much of it until I saw the ball come towards me,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly jumped up and headed it toward the goal, scoring the game-deciding goal for the Cardinals. The entire team swarmed Mattingly and tackled her to the ground.
“After losing to them last year in the MAC Championship, we really wanted to get a big win here, and that’s exactly what we did,” Mattingly said.
The Cardinals now have consecutive wins for the first time in a month.
The win shifts momentum, with only four matches remaining before the MAC tournament.
“This was a pinnacle game for us, and it really moves us up in the standings,” head coach Craig Roberts said. “It will come down to the very end still, and we still have some changes to make, especially if we end up facing Western Michigan again.”
The win moves Ball State to 8-4-2, 4-3 in the MAC, and puts the Cardinals in second in the West Division, just behind Eastern Michigan.
The next match for Ball State is 2 p.m. on Oct. 19 at the Briner Sports Complex against Northern Illinois (5-8-2; 3-2-2 MAC).