Ball State takes second MAC win against Toledo

Ball State led Toledo with ten seconds left in the second half. But after the ball went out of bounds, the Rockets had possession next to the Cardinals’ goal and were trying to tie the match. 

Though they had a chance, Ball State sophomore forward Delaney Caldwell stole the ball and called the game. 

“We needed to get the ball over half [of the field],” she said. “[The ball] was down there for a long time and I just wanted to get it as far away from our goal as possible.”

After Caldwell took the ball to the other side of the field, Ball State held on to take their second Mid-American Conference (MAC) win as they defeated Toledo 2-1. 

“It isn’t pretty sometimes but to be undefeated still, that's big,” Ball State head coach Josh Rife said. “Trying to get out to a good start is always important.”

The defense of both competing teams was in full effect in the first half of the match at Briner Sports Complex.  

After having limited effect on offense, the Cardinals (4-5-1, 2-0-1 MAC) had a longer meeting that lasted the entire break. 

“I think we all kind of talked about not being frantic and vice versa,” Caldwell said. “I think a lot of that changes the game.” 

Whatever was said at halftime crossed over to the field of play because the Cardinals scored two goals within a two-minute span in the second half. 

“We can hopefully play loose or play lackadaisical,” Rife said. “We still have to stay focused, but it takes a little bit of the pressure off to play with the lead in the second half.” 

The scoring was not the only thing that switched in the second period. After the clock began running, physicality became a major factor in the match. 

Two yellow cards were given out, which included a card that went against Rife when he argued about a call. 

“You have to understand that it's going to come and it's going to work,” he said. “You negate that by playing a little quicker.”

While the final score was low, the shots at the goal were flying throughout the Cardinals' victory. After the Rockets (3-4-2, 0-1-1 MAC) only had one shot attempt in the first half, they followed with eight in the second. 

Protecting the goal for Ball State was junior goaltender Bethany Moser. She finished the game with three saves including a diving effort near the end of the match. During the highlight reel play,  the one goal that she missed was something that was on her mind. 

“I was really tough on myself,” she said. “You can actually make the save this time and make up for what you should have made the first time.”

To Rife, her performance was one of the key factors in the win.

“She continues to just get better and better,” he said. “I think she's really finally settling into consistent minutes… and I’m just happy for her and her success.”

The Cardinals have now won two of their three MAC games. This has given the team a boost of confidence. 

“The MAC is like a whole different feeling,” Moser said. “I think since the moment we played Miami, we changed… It feels like we're able to bring in everybody else and give them that same energy and the same feeling. It’s like Christmas every day.”

The Cardinals will try and keep that energy as they travel to take on Western Michigan Sunday, Oct. 1. The game is set to begin at 1 p.m.

Contact Zach Carter with comments at or on X@ZachCarter85.