Fans walk around and talk during half time at the Woman's Soccer game, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2019 at Briner Sports Complex. Ball State Woman's soccer team defeated Illinois State University 1-0. Rebecca Slezak, DN
Pierce: Soccer’s season-ending loss not reflective of effort in 2019
Drew Pierce is a junior journalism major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper.
Ball State Soccer’s season came to a devastating end Sunday, as Eastern Michigan stunned the home team in the MAC Quarterfinals.
Before Sunday, the Cardinals were undefeated when scoring a goal. As most hot streaks, this one ended, but it ended at the worst time possible for the Cardinals.
Ball State’s extremely successful season ended in a way that does not accurately depict how well the Cardinals performed throughout the season. The Cardinals won 15 games and only dropped five the whole season. Three of the five losses came against MAC opponents.
Any team that only drops two conference matches before the playoffs start is a front-runner for a deep playoff push. Unfortunately, the Cardinals could not sneak past the quarterfinals.
Sunday, Eastern Michigan jumped to an early 1-0 lead and held it through halftime. Senior Peighton Cook tied up the game 14 minutes into the second half. Following the trend of the season, if the Cardinals scored at least one goal, they would end up winning. This was not the case, as East Michigan netted a goal in the final two minutes of regulation.
The devastating end to the Cardinals’ season does not properly show how successful the team was. In a year full of close games, the Cardinals seemed to always find a way to end up on top.
Ball State ended the season 6-0 in overtime games and had a four-game winning streak before Sunday. The Cardinals were basically unstoppable when scoring a goal, and this is why Sunday’s loss to Eastern Michigan was such a shock.
A big part of the roster was graduate student Tristin Stuteville, who became the winningest goalie in Ball State history. Stuteville was a huge reason why the Cardinals could keep the lead when the offense found its groove.
One of the biggest changes of the 2019 season was the loss of former head coach Craig Roberts and the hiring of Josh Rife. With any team, the transitional period of getting used to a new head coach and a new style of play can be confusing and difficult.
Any team that can go 9-3 in conference play is successful. Ball State did this with a new coach and a new game plan.
All things considered, 2019 was an extremely successful season for the Cardinals. Although everything did not culminate into a MAC Championship, or even a trip to the final match, Ball State’s soccer program fought hard and met an unfortunate end.