Sophomore midfielder Paula Guerrero dribbles the ball in overtime at Kent State on Oct. 23, defeating the leader of the MAC East. The Ball State soccer team prepares for the game against Miami (OH) on Oct. 27, hoping to win the MAC title for the second year in a row. Colin Grylls // DN File
Ball State can clinch MAC regular season title with win against Miami
One win is all that stands between Ball State soccer and its second consecutive Mid-American Conference regular season title.
The Cardinals (13-3-2, 8-1-1 MAC) already won the MAC West title after beating Kent State last Oct. 22, but hosts Miami (8-7-2, 5-3-2) in its final regular season game 3 p.m. Oct. 27.
Miami is first in the MAC in saves and second in shutouts. Miami goalkeeper Vic Maniaci has been at the top of her game during her 12 games played this season, leading the MAC individually in save percentage (.885), saves (77) and saves per game (6.42). Maniaci also has 5 shutouts this season, which ties her for third in the MAC.
“We’re going to focus on what we do —we’ve been able to find openings against every team we’ve played this season,” said Ball State head coach Craig Roberts. “We feel confident we can do the same in this game. So you know, we feel confident in our offense and how we attack with our forwards, especially after the way they performed this last week and we can find the open if we need it.”
Though the Cardinals struggled at the beginning of the season with their finishing, they have seen a huge improvement offensively in MAC play from freshman forward Sam Kambol, sophomore midfielder Lauren Roll and sophomore forward Emily Scott. Kambol and Scott lead the Cardinals with five goals each this season and Roll is not far behind with four on the season.
“I think all the forwards have really stepped up,” Roberts said. “They’ve all done extremely well with producing goals. Whether it’s Sam Kambol or its Emily Scott, they’ve all been a threat on top. We’ve rotated players as well so it’s enabled us to get a different look at our approach to things.”
Though this game is vital for the Cardinals in clinching the MAC title again, a MAC tournament championship is still something missing from the résumé of Roberts. The tournament begins Oct. 30. Ball State's opponent is still to be determined, but it will host its first round game in Muncie.