It was a physical Sunday afternoon at Briner Sports Complex as Ball State came away with a 1-0 victory over Kent State in a Mid-American conference match that had 30 combined fouls and five yellow cards.

“Definitely the most physical game [played this year], Kent State is always a physical side,” Ball State head coach Craig Roberts said. “We want to be able to just put the ball on the ground and play, but it is difficult against a team with that level of physicality.”

Sophomore midfielder Julia Elvbo became the team’s leading scorer this year as she recorded her fourth goal of the season, and third of the weekend, in the 35th minute of the match. After a ball placed into the box was deflected around a couple of times, Elvbo rebounded the ball and capitalized on an opportunity to put it in the back of the net. 

“I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it, I just saw the ball drop down and I was trying to get on the rebound,” Elvbo said. “It’s getting easier and the goals are starting to come for me more and more.” 

Sophomore defender Yela Ziswiler was credited with an assist on the play, her first of the season. 

“[Julia Elvbo] has been amazing this weekend, to score three goals this weekend is a tremendous feat,” Roberts said. “I’m really excited for her, she’s only a sophomore so we know we have a lot more to come out of her, she’s getting better and better.”

Senior goalkeeper Alyssa Heintschel had a strong outing on the defensive end, recording six saves and helping the Cardinals finish with its third shutout of the season. Today’s victory gives Heintschel the 33rd victory of her career, tied for the second most wins in school history for a goalkeeper.

Ball State started slow in the first half, only registering four shots and not having a lot of accuracy in the passing game. Halftime adjustments helped them seize control and maintain consistency throughout the second half. 

Although they didn’t break through for a goal in the second half, the Cardinals controlled the tempo and created nine shots after the passing began to look more fluid. 

“In the first half, we weren’t reading the game very well, we addressed that and had to be more tactically astute,” Roberts said. “The girls made the adjustments we talked about exceptionally well and we were able to really control the second half.”

The Cardinals were able to effectively control Kent State’s leading scorer, Freshman midfielder Vital Kats, who had four goals and two assists coming into the game. Her best opportunity came in the 90th minute when a Ball State foul just outside the 18-yard box gave Kent State a potentially dangerous chance at an equalizer, but her shot curved wide left out of play.

Ball State stretched their unbeaten streak to five matches while ending a streak of seven matches unbeaten for Kent State (7-4-1, 3-1-0 MAC).

With their win and a Toledo draw today, Ball State (5-5-2, 3-0-1 MAC) moved into first place in the MAC. 

The Cardinals are back on the road for their next game Thursday at Western Michigan. Kickoff will be at 4:00 p.m.