The Ramblers celebrate more than a win

Fourth-year defender Paige Munar defends the ball in a game against Mercyhurst Aug. 17 at Briner Sports Complex. Mya Cataline, DN
Fourth-year defender Paige Munar defends the ball in a game against Mercyhurst Aug. 17 at Briner Sports Complex. Mya Cataline, DN

The Ramblers celebrate their very first 2-1 win against Ball State Cardinals after four years, but the real goal was to spread awareness. 

“Anytime you can bring awareness to a situation it’s a really positive thing,” Cardinals head coach Josh Rife said. 

Senior defender Alain Abel was diagnosed with Alopecia, an autoimmune disease, in middle school.  Her condition was unrecognizable until last year.

She shaved her head and her team rallied behind her in support.  They raised enough money through a GoFundMe account to buy her a wig.  

Abel took the opportunity to help others and raise awareness.

At first, she raised money on her own to donate wigs to a non-profit organization called, “Wigs for Kids.”

Furthermore, Abel’s team and school showed support by allowing further fundraising.  They sold shirts at the game while proceeds will be donated to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Abel mentors young kids, who supported her in attending the game, and has become a role model and confidence boost for others going through a similar diagnosis.

The Cardinals played in support as well, wearing blue somewhere on their body. 

“We all have different things that we’re facing and some of those things are visible, some of them aren’t,” Rife said.

You never know who you might be impacting.

“I actually have a lesser version of it and I got diagnosed in middle school,” junior forward Lexi Fraley said.

Although the game was to help raise awareness, Loyola Chicago focused on the win.

“They made some great defensive plays,” Fraley said. 

Freshman forward Zoe Hevey had her first two collegiate assists in the game.

Senior midfielder, Olivia Rhodes, knocked in her second collegiate goal in the 24 minute after two years.  

Fraley pulled off a hat trick in the 53 minute with the goalkeeper out of the net to tie the game.

“It felt good to equalize the game,” Fraley expressed.

The minutes count down. The ball keeps moving. Touches are made.  

Through-ball in the box. Low hard cross. One touch. Goal!

Junior midfielder, Taylor Harrison, scored the winning goal in the 58 minute.

Ball State’s head coach, Josh Rife, reflected on the turnout of the game as he prepares for their next challenge. 

“We just have to be tougher,” Rife said.

The Cardinals are on the road again to play Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, Sept. 7th at 7 p.m. 

Contact Meghan Sawitzke with comments at or on X @MSawitzke.


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