It was a tightly contested battle as Ball State and Davidson clashed under the Friday night lights. However, the lights shined on the Wildcats as they earned a 1-0 victory over the Cardinals.
This is the Cardinals’ second consecutive loss after Ball State came up short against Kent State at home earlier in the week.
“Honestly, I think we battled ourselves tonight,” head coach Caitlin Walsh said. “It was more of a mental battle than anything gameplan wise. We let our heads get in it, and obviously that was our reflection of the score.”
In what was a tightly contested first half, both the Cardinals and Wildcats struggled to get anything going on the offensive end. In the first quarter, the Wildcats got four shots on the goal, but were unable to find the back of the cage with Ball State senior goaltender Hannah Johnston saving three to keep the score knotted at zero going into the second.
Johnston ended the game with 11 saves out of 13 shots on goal, marking the first time in nearly a month that she recorded double digit saves, as she last earned 10 against Ohio Sept. 15.
The game remained tied at zero going into the half, with both sides not getting much going on the offensive end. The Cardinals outshot the Wildcats 4-3 to end the first half, but about one minute into the third quarter, Davidson cracked the Ball State defense as sophomore midfielder Sib Naaktgeboren poked one under Johnston off of a rebound to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
The Cardinals failed to respond to the goal but got close on some occasions when in the final seconds of the game, Walsh pulled Johnston out of the net to give the Cardinals an extra attacker on the field. With about 25 seconds left, Ball State earned a chance to tie the game on a penalty corner shot. However, the Wildcats’ defense held strong, as the shot missed wide, sealing the victory for Davidson.
“I think it’s just a bit of a wake up call –– we need to stick to the gameplan,” Walsh said. “It is more of a lesson learned and we move on from it. Sure, it’s non-conference and we all want to win, but at the end of the day we are focused on Sunday now.”
For their next contest, the Cardinals (5-6) stay on the road, traveling to Farmville, Virginia, for a conference matchup against Longwood (2-11, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) Oct. 8 at Noon.
Contact Dane Massey with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @danemassey22.