The crowd cheers. The team on its feet. Voices echo during play. Tension rises. Physicality exceeds expectations. The last whistle is blown and sweat dries as both teams walk off with a 0-0 draw.
Second-seed in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), Ball State and third-seed, Kent State, went head to head in an attempt to advance in the MAC tournament seedings Oct. 20.
Third-year midfielder Avery Fenchel received two yellow cards resulting in a red. According to head coach Josh Rife, “it was a little inconsistent tonight.”
The first card was issued in the 89th minute of the game because the clock was stopped due to the ref accusing Fenchel of moving forward after giving the distance required to accompany a free kick.
The second card was advanced to a red due to physical misconduct within the final seconds of the game. Fenchel was behind Kent State's fourth-year goalkeeper Sarah Melen when she went down after snatching the ball. The second yellow card was issued after the referee determined that Fenchel pushed Melen to gain possession.
“It was tough all night long but we had a great effort,” Rife said. "Road games are difficult so the shutout was awesome.”
Ball State Cardinals play again on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. on their home field against the number one seed in the MAC, Buffalo.
“It is nice that it will be home, but no one ever gives you any favor for being home,” Rife said. "You show up and everyone's got to play.”
If the Cardinals win against Buffalo and the following match against Central Michigan, they will sit number one and host the MAC Tournament.
“We always go to win,” Rife said.
Contact Meghan Sawitzke with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @MSawitzke.