MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State soccer team played to its second 2-2 draw of the weekend in Mid-American Conference action Sunday, this time against Northern Illinois.
Nicole Pembleton and Elaina Musleh both scored for the Cardinals, but Northern Illinois managed a pair of goals from Jess Woolridge to leave the Briner sports Complex with a tie on Ball State’s Senior Day.
Musleh’s goal at the 80:40 mark answered Woolridge’s second goal of the afternoon to even the score at 2-2. Neither team was able to find the game winner over the final nine minutes of regulation or either of the 10-minute overtime periods.
With three regular-season games remaining in the race for MAC Tournament seeding, Ball State’s record now stands at 9-4-3 (4-2-2 MAC). Northern Illinois is now 4-9-3 (2-4-2 MAC).
In a game marked by 33 total fouls, Ball State more than doubled Northern Illinois in shot attempts (27-11) and shots on goal (13-6). But the Huskies were able to convert on enough of those chances to play the Cardinals even.
“Our team is disappointed,” Ball State coach Craig Roberts said. “We are at the point where we are not content tying games or just being in games; we want to win everything. I think that’s a great attitude, but we have to convert scoring opportunities if we’re really going to win those games.”
After a scoreless first half, Pembleton struck first for the Cardinals in the 52nd minute when she collected a loose ball in the box and fired a shot into the right corner of the net for her third goal of the year. That lead stood until Woolridge found an open net to tie the score in the 71st minute after Ball State failed to clear the ball from its own end.
Woolridge scored again just more than 10 minutes later at the 80:15 mark after a Ball State foul set up a free kick from 35 yards out. Courtney Ksiazek placed the kick perfectly toward Woolridge, who headed it in to give the Huskies their only lead of the day.
That lead was short lived. Less than 30 seconds later, Musleh scored on a header of her own. Maimee Morris crossed the ball into the box, and Musleh sent in into the right side of the net to tie things up again on what proved to be the final goal of the day. It was Musleh’s second goal of the year.
The Cardinals had other chances, including a penalty kick from Victoria Jacobs, but could not get the lead back. Northern Illinois goalkeeper Amy Carr was there to make 11 saves on the day. Layne Schramm made four saves for Ball State and also came off her line to play numerous dangerous crosses.
At 4-2-2 in conference play, Ball State has 14 points in the league standings based on a system that awards three points for a win and one point for a tie. The top six teams in the MAC are separated by just four points with Eastern Michigan leading the way at 18. The top four teams in the final standings will host first-round conference tournament games.