Sophomore forward Sam Kambol recorded the lone goal of the day in the second minute of the second half at Western Michigan Thursday as the Ball State stayed unbeaten in conference play and held their position atop the Mid-American Conference with a 1-0 victory in Kalamazoo.
Kambol’s goal came in the 47th minute as a cross from senior midfielder Allison Abbe found her in the box and she was able to head it into the back of the net for the only goal of the afternoon.
"We felt that if we got the ball wide on the right backside we could find [a chance] and the girls executed that very well,” head coach Craig Roberts said. “They started out strong finding the outside pocket and it was a great cross in and a fantastic finish by Sam Kambol.”
The assist from Abbe was her fourth of the season, leading the team in that category. Kambol’s goal tied her with reigning MAC Player of the Week for women’s soccer, sophomore midfielder Julia Elvbo, with four goals on the year.
"I was delighted with [Kambol’s] performance, I feel like she’s getting her form back from last year which is great timing as we go through MAC play,” Roberts said. “I think she’ll start adding to her account and you can see her confidence building and it’s great.”
The Cardinals put together another afternoon of solid defense. They held Western Michigan’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Grace Labadie, to two shots, neither were on goal.
“The goalkeeper play was solid, it was a very good performance from Alyssa being able to tie the school record for career wins,” Roberts said. “The defense played very well, although Western Michigan got one or two shots off, I felt they were kept at length and no real threats were put on us.”
It was a rare afternoon where Ball State did not hold an advantage in shots taken, Western Michigan held a 13-12 advantage but couldn’t find the back of the net as the Cardinals left the afternoon with a second consecutive shutout, their fourth of the season. Ball State was slightly more accurate with their shots, finishing the game with a 6-4 advantage in shots on goal.
“The midfield competed well and we provided a variety of different attacks, but I felt we came up short on a couple and there were one or two more chances that we could’ve finished, but unfortunately we couldn’t finish those,” Roberts said.
Western Michigan had its share of opportunities to get an equalizer down the stretch but couldn’t capitalize to force an overtime period.
One of those opportunities came in the 79th minute when Alyssa Heintschel couldn’t corral a cross into the box and a Western Michigan player sent their shot wide of an open Ball State net. Ball State also denied two more equalizer attempts in the final two minutes as the Broncos received a pair of corners to close out the game. “I thought the girls showed a lot of maturity in how they closed the game, they kept their patience and their experience from past championships really showed,” coach Roberts said of the way the team finished.
The Cardinals showed another display of depth with their performance, as 19 players saw action in the win.
“Everyone on this team consistently contributes at a high level, anyone can start on this team and other teams struggle to maintain the energy and match what we bring,” Roberts said.
Senior goalkeeper Alyssa Heintschel got the nod to start this afternoon, completing another shutout and tying Rachael Murphy for the school record of wins by a goalkeeper with her 34th victory. If Heintschel starts Sunday afternoon against Northern Illinois, history could potentially be made in Muncie.
The Cardinals will return home to Briner Sports Complex Sunday to host Northern Illinois. That game will have a 2 p.m. kickoff.