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Nicole Pembleton scored with 22 seconds left in the second overtime.
Photo by: Scott McNitt
Pembleton Scores in Last Minute, Soccer Tops Air Force

COLORADO SPRINGS -- Ball State and Air Force went scoreless into the last possible minute of Sunday’s soccer game before Nicole Pembleton’s goal ended a wild day and gave the Cardinals a 1-0, double-overtime road victory.

Ball State ended its weekend in Colorado with a split of two games, moving its record to 5-2-0 on the season. Air Force dropped to 1-5-1 with the loss.

Sunday’s game started outside at Cadet Soccer Stadium but was moved because of lightning during the first half to the Holaday Athletic Center, an all-purpose indoor facility.

Layne Schramm played every second in goal for the Cardinals to post her second consecutive shutout and the team’s fourth of the season. She finished with a career-high 11 saves.

“We had some early chances that we weren’t able to put away, but we continued to fight,” Ball State coach Craig Roberts said. “Layne got the shutout and we played very well defensively. We dug deep to pull out the win, and it was a good way to end the trip.”

Schramm’s counterpart, Air Force keeper Kelly Stambaugh, also stopped every shot she faced until the final play of the day.

But with the game looking like it was heading for a scoreless draw, Ball State’s Elaina Musleh lofted a pass from the midfield to Nicole Pembleton into the top corner of the box. Pembleton chipped a shot over Stambaugh, and it glanced just off the keeper’s fingertips before rolling into the net with 22 seconds showing on the clock.

It was the first goal of the season for Pembleton, who led the Cardinals with four scores a year ago. Pembleton and Cailey Starck each registered three shots on goal for the game, while Maimee Morris led the team with four.

“Air Force is a very physical, strong team, but we battled really hard all the way,” Roberts said. “On the road, we were at a disadvantage in terms of dealing with the altitude and having to go to an indoor facility we had never seen before. But I was really pleased with the way the girls acclimated. They never made any excuses; they just got the job done.”

Ball State will continue its string of five consecutive road contests when it travels Friday to IUPUI for its only game of the week. That contest is slated for a 7 p.m. start in Indianapolis.

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