In a hard-fought defensive effort Saturday, Ball State Field Hockey (2-15, 2-4 MAC) was unable to send off its seniors with a home win after a 3-2 loss to Longwood (9-6, 4-2 MAC).
The game began with a senior spotlight for Ball State. Beth Barnes, Darbi Gullett and Anya Eicher were all introduced before the emotional crowd.
“Everyone says it, but it’s a family,” Eicher said. “They’re all my sisters, love them all to bits. I’m going to miss them all so much.”
Both teams started off hot offensively. Leonie Verstraete scored the first goal of the game for the Lancers. Ball State retaliated with a goal courtesy of redshirt sophomore back Rachel Pereira. The Cardinals added to their lead with a goal by redshirt junior forward Michelle Shampton. Shortly after the Cardinal score, Olivia Wawrzyniak tied the game before the half.
Both teams stood strong defensively in the second half. Neither was able to score for the remainder of regulation. This trend continued into two overtimes. The game had to go to a shootout to determine the victor of the matchup.
Longwood had the first chance to score. Sophomore goalkeeper Grace Chavez was penalized in the first shot attempt, resulting in a Lancer score. Gullett had the first chance to equal the score for the Cardinals but could not connect.
The Lancers were unable to score on their second try, and so were the Cardinals. Longwood recovered and scored once more, and Ball State still failed to answer. In their final shot, the Lancers connected to clinch the victory.
“The loss sucks, but it shows what we can do as a team,” Eicher said. “We fought every second for that game. It was a hard fight, and we stepped up to the plate.”
Unlike previous matchups, Ball State was able to outshoot Longwood 19-16 and recorded only two fewer corners.
“Probably our most complete game. Our opponent was really good,” head coach Stephanie Bernthal said. “They do some challenging things. The way we played defensively completely neutralized the things that they like to do. It created some frustration for them and allowed us to have an amazing counterattack.”
The Cardinals will conclude their season next week during the Mid-American Conference Tournament, which will take place Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.
“It’s exciting to show the MAC what we can do,” Eicher said. “Our record doesn’t show it, but we showed it today what we can do as a team. We’re going to bring it to every team we face in the tournament.”
Bernthal said she thinks the team is in a good position heading into the MAC Tournament.
“This is right where we wanted to be at the end of the season, peaking,” Bernthal said. “We just have to keep taking the little things to improve upon and go into next week and face our opponent.”