KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The sixth-seeded Ball State soccer team saw its season come to an end Sunday afternoon with a hard-fought 1-0 loss to third-seeded and host Western Michigan in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The loss ends the Cardinals season with a 9-9-3 overall record while the Broncos improve to 13-7-0 on the year.
The Cardinals' nine wins are tied for the eighth most in program history and the most since also recording nine wins in 2008. Ball State finished the season with at least a .500 record for the first time since 2007, when it posted a 13-5-2 record.
Ball State went toe-to-toe with the Broncos as it held a 13-10 advantage in shots with 11 different Cardinals posting shots in the loss. The Cardinals and Broncos played an evenly matched first half with Ball State holding a 5-4 edge in shots, including three shots in the final five minutes of the first half. Freshman forward Jasmine Moses (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) started the flurry for the Cardinals who couldn't solve WMU goalkeeper Michelle Watson.
The Cardinals came out of the halftime break and started to gain the momentum. Junior defender Amanda Dreyfus (Grove City, Ohio/Grove City) had a strong chance in the 58th minute but her shot from just inside the 18-yard box was saved by Watson.
Western Michigan, which opened MAC playing with a 3-1 victory over BSU earlier this season, got the game's lone goal in the 75th minute of play. Stephanie Skowneski sent a cross into the box where Diana Dedvukaj was able to get her head on the ball and sent into the corner of the goal past junior goalkeeper Aubrey Buehler (Waukesha, Wis./UT Martin) for her third goal of the year.
Ball State pressed in the final 15 minutes looking for the game-tying goal to keep its season alive but could not solve Watson. Juniors Shaniece Thorpe (Westmoreland, Jamaica/WVIT) and Paige Stroinski (Granger, Ind./Penn) had the Cardinals' best chances in the closing minutes but Watson posted a pair of saves to secure the victory.
Buehler finished the afternoon with three saves in the loss while Watson came up with three saves in the victory. Western Michigan advances to the MAC Tournament semifinals hosted by top-seeded Toledo next weekend. The Broncos will play second-seeded Central Michigan in one semifinal while Toledo will host fifth-seeded Buffalo.