Ball State Field Hockey played against La Salle on Oct. 16 at Briner Sports Complex. The team then faced the Miami RedHawks on Oct. 23 for Senior night, winning 1-0. Patrick Murphy // DN File
Ball State Field Hockey falls to Miami in final home game of season
Emotions were not only running high for Ball State Field Hockey (7-10, 2-3 MAC) at Briner Sports Complex Sunday for Senior night, but to gain momentum going into the Mid-American Conference playoffs.
Facing Miami (10-7, 4-1 MAC) the RedHawks walked away with the 1-0 victory.
Coming into the game the Cardinals held a 2-2 conference record. With only one game remaining, every win counts in the tight race into the postseason.
Head Coach Christy Longcare said every game is important, but that this one was very important.
“We still have to take care of business with Central Michigan and hopefully it works out in our favor and still get a bid in. We have to let this game go, focus on the next and go from there.”
Both teams kept close offensively with each other in the first half as the RedHawks led with shots attempted 4-3. But still went into halftime with scoreless tie game. While Miami led in shots, the Cardinals registered the only shot on goal in the first half from sophomore forward Darbi Gullett.
The second half saw Miami’s offensive experience show as the majority of play was spent down in the Cardinal end of the field. This Miami press allowed sophomore forward Paula Portugal to give the RedHawks a 1-0 led midway through the second half.
Ball State’s defense shut down five straight Miami penalty corner shots. The Redhawks had 13 attack penalty corners and only scored one.
“We got a really great unit on defensive corners,” Longcare said. “We’ve been really good at tackling them outside and not allowing them inside the circle, but when we’re on defense mode it’s bound to happen. We took care of business."
With a strong Miami offensive registering 10 shots to zero by the Cardinals. The Cardinals allowed 10 penalty corner shots in the second half alone.
Senior forward Lexi Kavanaugh said facing Miami really helped the team learn.
“Now we know how they are and I think they’re one of the better offensive team’s we have ever played," Kavanaugh said. "We know how to defend them better from the type of offense they displayed.”
The Cardinals will now need to defeat Central Michigan on Friday, Oct. 28 or have Longwood University lose in order to make it into the MAC playoffs.