It was not long ago when the Cardinals sat with a 0-4 record and a nine-game regular season losing streak. However, in a matter of days, Ball State has come together and rallied to win their fifth straight game in commanding fashion against Lindenwood 5-0 to push their record to 5-4. The Cardinals are also above .500 for the first time since mid-October of last year and also remain unbeaten on their home field.
In the first, penalties were the word of the game for the quarter, as Ball State was able to capitalize on four penalty corners and a penalty stroke late in the quarter. The Cardinals capitalized on the penalty stroke with senior defender Micheala Graney, as she put in her third goal in four games and her career-high fourth goal of the season to put the Cardinals on top early. Ball State is currently 4-1 when getting on the scoreboard first.
“It is my senior year and I have been here since 2020 so just the improvement has actually been insane,” Graney said. “It is a completely different team and a completely different mindset. It is just amazing to see.”
The physicality continued into the second, with sophomore Maddie Summitt serving a green card for the Cardinals, however, the defense held strong as the Cardinals allowed the Lions to take no shots on goal going into the half. Fleur Knopert ended the half without a score, however, the star sophomore made sure she did not go unnoticed.
Going into the second half, Knopert unleashed an offensive barrage of goals, with two coming in the third quarter in less than 20 seconds. Knopert added on another in the fourth to give her a second consecutive hat trick.
“This hat trick was way better than [Friday’s],” Knopert said with a laugh. “The first half we didn’t play like we wanted to and during a break, we were like ‘we needed to change this and play Ball State field hockey’… And that is what we showed in the second half.”
With Ball State on a five-game win streak, they continue to make history by tying their longest win streak since 2006, and the winning streak is what they will need as the team heads into a tough conference matchup with Kent State at Briner Sports Complex next weekend.
“Prepping for one game makes us super locked in,” head coach Caitlin Walsh said. “Any MAC (Mid-American Conference) game could go to any school at any given Sunday so whatever team is going to show up and play their hockey. We need to come in locked and loaded, ready to go on Tuesday, [we need to come] ready to grind and ready to get after it.”
The Cardinals will stay at home for a conference matchup against Kent State Sept. 30 at 12 p.m.