Ball State Soccer (4-0, 0-0 MAC) once again received contribution from sophomore defender Grace Alsop as she scored another goal to help the Cardinals take down Loyola Chicago (1-3, 0-0 Missouri Valley) 2-1 at Briner Sports Complex.
“I was trying to have more of an attacking mindset and be a leader in the midfield,” Alsop said. “Just continuing to work hard in practice and going into every day with a great mindset. Trying to improve and giving it my all has helped.”
The Cardinals got off to an early start thanks to Alsop’s header inside the left post in the 26th minute. She was assisted by a cross from Emily Simmons. She now has four goals on the season including a hat trick against Eastern Illinois.
Ball State had 10 shots on the afternoon, and the Ramblers shot the ball 15 times. While graduate student goalkeeperTristin Stuteville did allow her first goal of the season, it was her seven saves that headlined her performance.
“We gave up our first goal of the season, but we scored two, so that is all that matters,” head coach John Rife said. “We did put ourselves under a bit of pressure, but the girls did continue to battle hard. From a coaching standpoint, they made some adjustments, and we were slow to counter some of those.”
Ball State added some insurance in the second half thanks to a chip shot by junior midfielder/forward Tatiana Hawkins-Dabney over the goalie’s head in the 66th minute. It was her third goal of the season, and it was ultimately the difference.
“I feel like we deserved this,” Hawkins-Dabney said. “We worked hard in the tough conditions, and for us to come out and still be focused — I am really proud of us.”
The Ramblers put some pressure on Ball State in the second half, owning the time of possession advantage and scoring a goal in the 86th minute.
“When you are winning, it is easy to find that confidence, but we want to make sure it is not a false confidence, and we know there are a lot of positives we can build on and things we can get better at,” Rife said. “When we go on the road, we know we have been stingy defensively, so fortunately, I think that will carry with us.”
Ball State now takes a four-game winning streak into a three-game road trip with the first of those three games coming Friday against Omaha. First touch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
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