In a crucial matchup for conference tournament seeding Central Michigan University topped Ball State 1-0 in double overtime.

In a game that head coach Craig Roberts called an “even battle all the way through,” one mistake three minutes into the second overtime gave Central Michigan’s Nicole Samuel a chip shot from six yards out and cost Ball State the game.

Ball State’s first overtime loss in six tries drops it to 10-5-3 and 5-3-2 in Mid-American Conference play and mathematically eliminated the Cardinals’ chances to host a first round MAC tournament game after jockeying the last few weeks with five other teams for the four spots.

“When you make mistakes at this level, you pay for them,” Roberts said. “I felt like we were right there with [Central Michigan] the whole time, it just fell for them.”

Central Michigan’s attack, predicated on controlling and driving through the middle, generated 17 shots to Ball State’s eight — the third most shots Ball State has allowed and tied for the least it has taken in conference play — with six shots coming in overtime to Ball State’s one.

Though Roberts said he thought the box score’s shots might be skewed because he felt the actual scoring chances were even, the minus-9 shot differential was the largest in conference play for Ball State.

Part of the Cardinals’ lack of offense that gave Grace Labrecque her sixth shutout of the season — second most in the conference — came from its defense. Against Central Michigan, junior Cailey Starck was the only defender to take a shot. In its 10 wins this season, Ball State has average 3.7 shots from defenders.

Just 30 seconds before Samuel tucked in the game winner, Starck put her one header just wide of the net, epitomizing the back-and-forth nature of the match for Roberts.

“We’re not walking away from this one saying, ‘We hope we don’t see them again,’” he said. “I think this just shows that we are on par with the best teams in the conference.”

Ball State is 1-2 against teams that are slotted to host a first round game and will play the other, Miami University (9-6-3, 6-1-3 MAC), on Thursday in the last game of the regular season.