Ball State field hockey (1-4) earned its first regular season win of the season in nail biting fashion as the Cardinals went the distance for a shootout victory against Lock Haven (2-3).
With the win, the Cardinals snapped a nine game losing streak dating back to October 2022, one of the longest losing streaks since 2008 when they lost 11 games in a row.
The first quarter was akin to a grudge match, as no one could find a good shot on goal, however a penalty stroke was be set up for the Bald Eagles which junior midfielder Brooke Hofsass would put in the back of the net to put Lock Haven up 1-0 with just about 30 seconds left in the first period.
With the first half winding down to a close, the Cardinals found an answer of their own. A penalty corner shot by graduate student midfielder Libby Kraus was deflected high by graduate student midfielder Kerrianne McClay to hit the back of the net to tie the game at one going into the half. The Cardinals ended the half outshooting the Bald Eagles in the second quarter 4-0.
“My message to them at halftime was, ‘We found our groove, now it’s time to come out strong in the second half and don’t let up,’” head coach Caitlin Walsh said.
As the second half got under way, the game got chippy and physical very quickly as six penalty corners were played throughout the quarter as players pushed and fell all over the field. The physicality continued into the two overtime periods where after a couple of back and forth moments, the game remained tied at one apiece.
This sent the fate of both the game and the losing streak to a shootout.
Both Lock Haven and Ball State missed in their first attempts but the Bald Eagles scored in their second attempt. A fifth-straight loss to open the 2023 campaign was staring the Cardinals in the face, as they needed two goals to tie the game. That’s when senior midfielder Rachel Bohn and senior defender Elyse Horner went back-to-back for the Cardinals, extending the shootout further. In the sixth round, a miss by Lock Haven set up Bohn to score the game winning goal for Ball State.
Walsh said the victory was a full team effort and a full team win. From top to bottom Ball State came in with a little bit of motivation and showed that on the field, Walsh said.
Ball State will travel to Athens, Ohio, Sept. 15 to take on Ohio for the first game of Mid-American Conference play.