YPSILANTI, Mich. -- The Ball State soccer team takes the field Sunday against Western Michigan one win away from its first MAC Tournament championship and the accompanying berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinals and Chippewas will meet at 1 p.m. at Eastern Michigan’s Scicluna Field. A radio broadcast by Sports Link Radio on WCRD will be streamed on ballstatesports.com, and live stats will be available through Championship Headquarters at mac-sports.com.
Ball State (11-6-4) has already advanced further in tournament play than ever before, reaching the conference championship match for the first time by defeating defending champion Miami University in penalty kicks Friday in the semifinals.
Western Michigan (10-5-5) will be playing in the finals for the third time in the past four seasons. The Broncos fell in the championship game to Central Michigan in 2010 and Toledo in 2011. They earned their spot in this year’s title contest by knocking off top-seeded Eastern Michigan 1-0 in Friday’s semifinals.
Western Michigan is the No. 4 seed in the tournament, while Ball State is the No. 6 seed. The teams met in the regular season Oct. 13 in Kalamazoo, Mich., with the Broncos prevailing 2-1 on a pair of goals from Ali Russo. Head coach Craig Roberts' Cardinals have already avenged regular-season losses in their first two tournament games against Central Michigan and Miami.
Layne Schramm posted a shutout in goal for the Cardinals in the semifinal game against Miami. It was her sixth shutout of the season and the ninth total by Ball State this year. Victoria Jacobs is the top scorer for the Cardinals with five goals, while Elaina Musleh, Michelle Blok and Kelsey Wendlandt have scored four goals each.
Rachel Chaney leads Western Michigan offensively with eight goals, while Aubrey Sudomier and Gina Maddi have scored five each. The Broncos were tied with Eastern Michigan as the top goal-scoring teams during MAC play with 2.27 goals per game. WMU goalkeeper Michelle Watson enters the title game with a 0.88 goals against average.
Ball State is 6-9-3 all-time against Western Michigan, including a 1-1-1 record in MAC Tournament action. The Broncos advanced on penalty kicks in the one postseason draw between the teams in 2004.