Ball State Soccer drops conference opener to Central Michigan

<p>Sophomore Midfielder Tatiana Mason brings the ball into Illinois State University's zone, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2019 at Briner Sports Complex. &nbsp;Ball State Woman's soccer team defeated lllinois State University 1-0. <strong>Rebecca Slezak,DN</strong></p>

Sophomore Midfielder Tatiana Mason brings the ball into Illinois State University's zone, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2019 at Briner Sports Complex.  Ball State Woman's soccer team defeated lllinois State University 1-0. Rebecca Slezak,DN

Ball State Soccer (6-3, 0-1 MAC) lost 1-0 to Central Michigan (4-0-2, 1-0 MAC) after Marle Bringard scored in the closing minutes of the first half. This is the first loss in the Cardinals’ Mid-American Conference opener since 2011. 

At the beginning of the game, the Cardinals had the momentum as they constantly put pressure on the Chippewas, possessing the ball 58 percent of the first half.

During the second half, Ball State was playing a game of catch up and was unable to capitalize on the 11 shots taken.

The sky became dark as the second half continued. The wind began to blow things around Briner Sports Complex, even driving spectators away.

“It looked a lot worse than it actually was, but there were a lot of times when it worked for us and against us,” junior forward Tatiana Hawkins-Dabney said.


An Illinois State University fan watches the game, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2019 at Briner Sports Complex.  Ball State Woman's soccer team defeated Illinois State University 1-0. Rebecca Slezak, DN


As the game wound down, the tension built as the Cardinals saw several game-tying opportunities appear, but they were just unable to put the ball in the back of the net. Hawkins-Dabney said the team didn’t add any pressure in the closing minutes.

“We have a gameplan, and we try to stick to it the whole 90 minutes,” Hawkins-Dabney said. “In the last few minutes, we just kept our same mentality.”

Despite the loss, head coach Josh Rife said the first conference game won’t define the Cardinals’ season.

“The MAC has one of the longest conferences of all the conferences out there,” Rife said. “This game will not determine the outcome of the MAC Championship. I think we have to start a little better and be a little cleaner. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day, and we just have to make sure we are ready.” 

Looking forward, Ball State will play Eastern Michigan at home Sunday, Sept. 29.

Contact Hunter Skillman with any comments at hjskillman@bsu.edu.

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