Ball State Soccer (5-0, 1-0 MAC) carried its momentum from its season-opening success at home Friday as the Cardinals shut out Omaha (1-3-1, 0-0 Summit League) 1-0 in their first road game this season.
The Cardinals extended their unbeaten streak to 14-0-2 over their past 16 games with the win. Recording his first win on the road with the Cardinals, head coach Josh Rife referred to a popular football slogan when describing his team’s performance: “defense travels.”
“Road games are always tough,” Rife said, “but when you can be stingy defensively and not give up a ton of opportunities, I think you’re always going to put yourself in position. I think that’s been a huge part of our success so far.”
The victory saw graduate student goalkeeper Tristen Stuteville record her fourth shutout through five games this season. Stuteville has allowed only one goal through all 450 minutes played, lowering her goals against average to 0.20.
“In the second half, [the Mavericks] put a little bit of sustained pressure on us, but she was able to keep them off the board,” Rife said. “It’s great for her for working hard, and the whole goalkeeping crew has kind of pushed each other every day. I think part of that credit goes to the group in front of her.”
Although the Mavericks’ defense and goalkeeper Kelly Lymke limited Ball State to one goal on 14 shots, their offense could not keep up with the Cardinals as Omaha failed to score a goal for its second consecutive game.
With 42 seconds left in the first half, junior midfielder Nicky Potts scored her first goal of the season to give the Cardinals the lead at halftime. Potts’ goal was assisted by freshman midfielder/forward Sam Musick, recording her first-ever point at the collegiate level.
“It was a great goal,” Rife said. “In her last few games, she’s had some great chances. She’s earned some extra minutes, and today she capitalized on [them].”
The Mavericks outshot the Cardinals in the second half, 8-6, but a strong defensive effort combined with Stuteville’s presence ultimately gave Ball State the edge. Rife said he could not be happier with tonight’s result, and the game was representative of a true team effort.
“The kids put the work in every day in training,” Rife said. “They go about it with a great attitude, and I’m super proud of them.”
The Cardinals will continue their road trip Friday, Sept. 13, at Florida Atlantic.
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