Things can change in the blink of an eye.
That’s how quickly Ball State (4-5-1, 2-1-1 MAC) turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 victory against Akron (2-10, 0-4 MAC).
“Relief,” head coach Josh Rife said. “I felt relief after those goals. You generate your own luck. I don’t think things just happen. If your're aggressive, things happen. Once we were able to get on the front foot and anticipate more and be more proactive, it allowed us to create those chances to score.”
Redshirt freshman forward Rielyn Hamilton gave Akron an early lead in the 10th minute, with a shot that ricocheted off Ball State senior goalkeeper Alex DeRuvo and into the net. The Zips held the Cardinals scoreless throughout the first 60 minutes.
After graduate student midfielder Melissa Diceman’s shot bounced off Akron freshman goalkeeper Penelope Cuirinier, senior midfielder Chelcy Ralph got the rebound and shot it in the back of the net to tie the game.
“When the ball was coming through the air, in my mind, I’m like, ‘Ok Chelcy, take your time. You can place this ball, or you can turn it over,’” Ralph said. “So, I took my time, let the ball bounce, and I blasted it inside.”
Before the fans stopped cheering, freshman forward Lexi Fraley gave them something else to cheer for, as her goal in the 63rd minute gave Ball State the lead. Then, in the 65th minute, Fraley did it again, going one-on-one with Cuirinier to put the Cardinals up two.
“We were all ready,” Fraley said. “We went down 1-0 and we were all really motivated. We worked together and picked a pace to finish the game.”
Ball State outshot Akron 17-12, 11-4 on shots on goal. DeRuvo followed up her career night against Buffalo, with three saves, while Cuirinier had eight.
Rife said he was ecstatic about how Ball State responded to Akron.
“Credit to Akron, despite their record, they’re a quality team,” Rife said. “We didn’t quite come out ready, we needed to be cleaner, and once we started doing that, we were able to get into a better rhythm and control the game a little more.”
Ball State will be at home on Thursday, Oct 7 against Bowling Green State at 7 p.m.
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