MUNCIE, Ind. -- Nicole Pembleton's goal off a pass from Pavla Benyrova in the 108th minute Sunday afternoon lifted the Ball State soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Xavier in the final game of the Ball State Tournament at the Briner Sports Complex.
The Cardinals (2-1-0) finished perfect on the weekend, joining Western Kentucky as co-champions of the event. WKU defeated Northern Kentucky earlier in the day for its second win of the weekend, as well. Xavier (1-3-0) and NKU each lost both contests at the tournament.
Despite out-shooting Xavier by a 23-9 margin for the game Sunday, Ball State found itself trailing 1-0 late into regulation. Ashton Green's goal for Xavier in the 59th minute was all the scoring either team managed until the Cardinals executed at the 78:42 mark.
Freshman forward Aubrey Hauenstein wound up with the ball in front of the goal and played it past Xavier keeper Katie Markesbery for her first collegiate goal and the equalizer. The play was initially set up when Benyrova served the ball into the box to fellow defender Skylar Chew, who headed it on to Hauenstein.
"Pavla is a talented player," Ball State coach Craig Roberts said. "She's very good as she comes forward. She just reads the game and knows how to deliver the ball into the box. I thought she was absolutely outstanding today on our attacking plays."
Hauenstein, a Noblesville, Ind., product led all players in the game with six shots, earning all-tournament team honors along with teammates Shaniece Thorpe, Benyrova and Chew.
Thorpe was active throughout the game, using her speed to push the ball forward and get the Cardinals onto the attack. But after Hauenstein's goal, the contest remained knotted through the remainder of regulation, the first overtime period and most of the second.
With less than two and a half minutes remaining and the game headed for a draw, Benyrova made a play for Ball State. Sarah Orisich fended off Xavier players to get the ball to Benyrova, who beat multiple defenders to get free on the right side of the box. From there, she sent a pass in front of the goal to a charging Pembleton, who placed it into the right corner of the net to end the game.
"In the overtime period, we switched tactics a little bit to give us more width," Roberts said. "We changed our formation and allowed our outside midfielders to create. Because of that, in the last few minutes of the game we ended up being able to break them down. The player we were trying to get into the attack was Nikki Pembleton. By playing her wide, we were able to attack the middle and then come back inside, which Pavla did a great job with, and Nikki ended up finishing it."
It was the first collegiate goal for Pembleton, a sophomore from Ontario, Canada, who played in 10 games last year and has come on strong early this year.
Senior keeper Aubrey Buehler played the entire 108 minutes in the net for Ball State and made three saves in earning the win. Markesbery finished with eight saves for Xavier, while Green led the Musketeer attack with three shots.
Ball State will be back in action at the Briner Sports Complex next weekend with two more home contests. The Cardinals welcome IUPUI at 4 p.m. Friday and IPFW at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Pavla Benyrova, D, Ball State
Skylar Chew, D, Ball State
Aubrey Hauenstein, F, Ball State
Shaniece Thorpe, F, Ball State
Amanda Buechel, F, Western Kentucky
Courtney Rymer, M, Western Kentucky
Ali Stahlke, D, Western Kentucky
Chrissy Tchoula, M, Western Kentucky
Meredith Gleichert, D, Xavier
Ashton Green, F, Xavier
Allison Ponzer, D, Northern Kentucky