After scoring six goals as a team on Friday, senior forward Sam Kambol scored the lone goal for Ball State Soccer (2-0-0, 0-0 MAC) Sunday in a 1-0 victory over Marquette (0-2-0, 0-0 Big East) Sunday. The win extended the Cardinals’ unbeaten streak to 11-0-2 over their past 13 games.
Kambol’s goal broke a scoreless draw at 71:40 of the second half. The game saw the Golden Eagles outshoot the Cardinals, 11-6, but graduate student goalkeeper Tristen Stuteville recorded four saves to record her second shutout of the season.
“These are the games that really show what our team’s made of,” Kambol said. “We can win 6-0 every day, but this was a test and it wasn’t just about that one goal. It was about the entire game: ‘did you make that last tackle, did you make that save, did you make that pass.’”
Head coach Josh Rife said his team took on a much greater challenge compared to Friday’s game. The Golden Eagles held possession for 55 percent of the first half, but consistent passing in the second half by the Cardinals ultimately gave them possession advantage (51 percent) by the end of the game.
“It was a battle,” Rife said. “I thought the girls played hard and took some good hits. They made good adjustments to combat some of the physicality of [Marquette]"
Rife described Kambol’s game-winning goal as special and key for his team’s momentum as the second half progressed.
“She doesn’t quit on plays,” Rife said. “There’s quality to it and that was a great finish, but it all starts with her effort to finish plays.”
The game got off to a rough start for the Cardinals as junior defender Shelby Kean exited the game just one minute in. The Golden Eagles would outshoot the Cardinals 7-3 in the first half.
The second half started with a similar narrative to the first, with both teams making numerous substitutions to break the scoreless draw. However, Kambol’s goal was ultimately all the Cardinals needed for their second win of the season.
Kambol said she has made several adjustments over the offseason to grow as a player, most notably working on when to hold the ball and when to make a run.
“We have to know how people like to play,” Kambol said. “For me, [I have to know], can I make a pass and can I move? That’s going to be the biggest game changer for me.”
Finishing with four saves, Kambol said Stuteville’s play was another major factor in the win in addition to her goal.
“I think Tristen is an outstanding player,” Kambol said. “She’s an outstanding leader on the field, and she continues to show why she is in goal for us. Her maturity in the back is something we really enjoy and something we are extremely grateful for.”
The Cardinals will continue their three-game homestand Thursday vs. Illinois State at 5 p.m.