MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - The Ball State soccer team suffered a hard fought 1-0 loss to defending Mid-American Conference Tournament champion Central Michigan Sunday afternoon at the CMU Soccer Complex.
Despite the loss, the Cardinals clinched their ninth berth all-time into the MAC Tournament and their first since 2008 after losses by Akron and Eastern Michigan. Ball State currently sits in sixth place in the MAC with 14 total points with a 4-4-2 league record with just one regular season game remaining on the schedule.
Central Michigan (13-2-3, 7-1-2 MAC) controlled play in the first half with a 9-2 edge in shots. Junior goalkeeper Aubrey Buehler (Waukesha, Wis./UT Martin) posted four saves in the first half to keep the game scoreless.
The Cardinals' best scoring chance came in the 40th minute off of a corner kick. Junior Amanda Dreyfus (Grove City, Ohio/Grove City) sent the ball into the box where junior defender Brigit Reder (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) was able to find her way on the end of the cross. Reder's header was aimed for the corner of the goal, but CMU goalkeeper Grace Labrecque was able to make the save to keep the game scoreless.
Central Michigan, which ran its home unbeaten streak to 33 straight, got the game's lone goal in the 74th minute as it took advantage of a set piece. Claire Horton scored her first goal of the season after Liesel Toth flicked the ball on to her from the free kick.
The Cardinals were out-shot for just the third time in MAC play as CMU held a 15-2 edge, including all six shots in the second half. Buehler posted five saves in the loss for the Cardinals who fall to 9-7-3 overall on the year.
Ball State closes out the regular season Thursday afternoon as it travels to MAC leader Toledo. The first round of the MAC Tournament is set for next Sunday with the top four seeds hosting first round contests.