In Ball State’s home opener Friday, the Cardinals (2-2, 0-0 MAC) shut out Saint Louis (0-3, 0-0 Atlantic 10), 3-0. Despite having only played four games this season, the team has already tied its 2018 win total. Head coach Stephanie Bernthal contributed the victory to “making the decision to be a different Ball State team.”
Entering the game, Ball State only had three goals on the year. Friday, the Cardinals tied their season total. They were aggressive, recording 10 shots during the game compared to Saint Louis’ four. In the end, the difference on the scoreboard came down to Ball State’s ability to capitalize off corner shots, with two of its three goals coming off of corners.
Redshirt junior forward Sierra Jefferson started the scoring for Ball State during the 20th minute of the game. After going back and forth for a bit, the Cardinals regained control and scored again at the 27th minute on a shot by redshirt senior forward Michelle Shampton. Just over a minute later, freshman midfielder Angel Nkosi scored her first goal of the season on a penalty corner.
“I finally felt like I was contributing to the team,” Nkosi said. As an underclassman, Nkosi said she “does not feel like the young girl on the team — everyone is equal.”
Along with the offensive effort of the team, the goalkeepers provided valuable defense that ultimately allowed the Cardinals to shut out Saint Louis. Two goalkeepers were used tonight: freshman Wietske Overdijkink and redshirt junior Alison McMullen. Overdijkink played the majority of the game and had one save on the day. McMullen entered in the fourth quarter of the game and made two saves to keep the Billikens scoreless.
Ball State now has two wins on the year, and Bernthal said the outlook is clear that the Cardinals are not done.
“It’s the players,” Bernthal said. “They put the work in the summer. They are in a place to beat people to the ball and make people pay for mistakes. I give them all the credit.”
Ball State will look to use this momentum when it takes on Indiana Sunday on the road.