Ball State Field Hockey (4-11, 2-3 MAC) snapped a four-game drought in its win Friday night against Longwood (7-9, 2-3 MAC).
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the second period with a penalty corner in the 25th minute, finished off by senior midfielder Haley Jolly. The Lancers quickly returned the favor after halftime with a goal from Karly Harwood in the 33rd minute. The Cardinals had two shots in the fourth period but could not convert as the game was even at the end of regulation.
Ball State rode its momentum as redshirt junior back/midfielder Rachel Pereira sealed the deal within the first minute of overtime. After allowing 67 shots over the past three contests, the Cardinals held the Lancers to just six attempts for the game.
This was the first game this month the Cardinals have scored any goals. Head coach Stephanie Bernthal said the feeling of seeing her team getting back on the scoreboard was awesome.
“Our defense, attacking, chemistry and staying loose is what makes up the DNA of this team,” Bernthal said. “We switched some things up in the fourth period that allowed us to make an overtime run. I was really proud of the team for staying the course and finding more energy after the Longwood goal.”
Longwood had won six of its last seven matchups with Ball State prior to Friday. This game sets both teams with the same conference record, currently aligned as the fourth and fifth seeds in the Mid-American Conference. If the season ended today, they would face off at the start of the conference tournament.
“Whoever we face does not matter,” Bernthal said. “It’s just about being fresh, confident and playing in freedom.”
The Cardinals will play Virginia Commonwealth (6-8, 4-3 A-10) Sunday. Bernthal said she expects the game to be another battle with high intensity.
“They are a very tough team,” Bernthal said. “Their coach is a really good tactical coach, so they will be prepared for our tendencies. We just got to go out, execute and have fun out there.”
Sunday will mark the Cardinals’ final road game, and they will close out the regular season at home next Friday with a conference matchup against Appalachian State (9-6, 1-4 MAC).