MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State soccer team bombarded Eastern Illinois early in Friday’s matchup at the Briner Sports Complex on the way to a 3-0 victory over the Panthers.
It was the second shutout of the season for Ball State as a team and for freshman goalkeeper Brooke Dennis. The Cardinals improved to 3-1 and remained perfect at home, while Eastern Illinois dropped to 0-5 with the loss.
Ball State will be back in action Sunday with a 1 p.m. home game against Tennessee Tech. Live stats and a radio broadcast by Sports Link Radio on WCRD will be available at ballstatesports.com.
All three Ball State goals Friday against Eastern Illinois came before halftime, and they all had one common thread in sophomore midfielder Elaina Musleh. A product of Carmel, Ind., and a transfer from Kentucky, Musleh assisted on all three scores as the Cardinals pushed the envelope offensively from the start of the game. Her three assists are the most in a game by any player this season in the Mid-American Conference.
“We have really emphasized having the mentality to take the opportunities in the attacking third, and we did that today,” Ball State coach Craig Roberts said. “Regardless of the result, we were going to make sure we had a change in mentality about taking the opportunities, and I was delighted with the girls’ approach.”
The opening two goals of the afternoon came within 30 seconds of each other in the game’s 23rd minute. The first came when Musleh fired a shot that was blocked and came to rest at the feet of Maimee Morris, who drilled the ball into the net from the top of the box for the first goal of her senior year.
Shortly after the ball was back in play, Musleh again found herself with it at the top of the box. This time, she fed a short pass to her left and Kelsey Wendlandt ripped a shot past Eastern Illinois goalkeeper Kylie Morgan to give Ball State a 2-0 lead.
Then, within a minute of halftime, Musleh threaded a pass to Erin Greeley in the right side of the box, and Greeley was able to beat the EIU keeper to the left side of the net. For both Wendlandt and Greeley, the goals were their second of the season.
The final goal capped a first half in which Ball State registered 22 shots, including 10 on goal, and held Eastern Illinois to just three shots. While the Panthers managed to find some more opportunities in the second half, the Cardinals more than tripled them in shots for the game at 31-10.
Dennis, who didn’t face a shot on goal in the first half, was tested a little more in the second and was able to corral five saves. Emily Hinton played the second half in the net for Eastern Illinois and made four saves without allowing a goal.
The offensive performance over the opening 45 minutes marked the second three-goal half for Ball State this year. The Cardinals recorded three scores in the second half against Green Bay on Aug. 25.
Ball State entered Friday’s game leading the Mid-American Conference in goals against average and only improved upon that number. The Cardinals have now surrendered just two goals through four games.