Ball State and Buffalo have both won their games against lower-ranked opponents and the Bulls held their No.1 seed with Ball State trailing behind them in second.
Although Central Michigan is ranked twelfth in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), first-year forward Delany Caldwell said it was just another game.
"We treated this game like any other because we knew that the result was important for us,” Caldwell said.
Second-year forward Lexi Fraley scored 5 minutes into the game after working her way around the goalkeeper's stance.
Caldwell scored in the 53rd minute of the game with no assist.
Central Michigan had a late goal by fourth-year midfielder Maggie Basse in the 82nd minute resulting in a final score of 2-1.
The Cardinals kick off the MAC Tournament next week where it is win or go home.
“I’m very nervous but also very excited, especially to see how far we can go," Caldwell said. "I think we have a really good shot... I need to make sure I stay healthy and focus on recovery, staying in shape and working hard during training.”
On the other hand, second-year goalkeeper Bethany Moser said she stuck to her usual routine.
"I can’t wear matching socks and I always have to have the same things written on my wrist,” Moser said.
She writes the initials of family members and friends as well as small reminders about the film and the other team's strategy. Moser also takes the time to draw mountains on her wrist, which brings her back to an injury from her freshman year. The sketch represents the quote, “move mountains so that other people know that you can.”
Furthermore, she makes sure to write the word “joy," stating that coaches want her to do, find joy in the sport and play the best she can.
The Cardinals play in Buffalo, New York to kick off the MAC tournament against the winner of Bowling Green and Western Michigan on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
“To the younger players, where this might be their first experience, don’t overthink it,” Rife said on advice for the team. "Trust the process that got you here and enjoy the moment.”