HUNTINGTON, W. Va. -- The Ball State soccer team picked up its attack in the second half Friday afternoon, but the Cardinals suffered a 3-1 loss at Marshall in their season opener.
Senior forward Shaniece Thorpe scored the Ball State goal in the 70th minute on an assist from freshman Aubrey Hauenstein, but Marshall's Lizzy Lemmons answered 12 minutes later to push the lead back to two goals and allow the Herd to hang on.
"We played much better in the second half," Ball State coach Craig Roberts said. "Marshall came out and played physical in the first half, and we just didn't match them at the beginning."
The Cardinals (0-1) will now return to Muncie for four consecutive home matches, beginning with next weekend's Ball State Tournament. BSU will host Northern Kentucky on Friday, Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m. and Xavier on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 2:30 p.m. as part of a four-match weekend at the Briner Sports Complex.
In Friday's season opener, Marshall (1-0) struck first in the 28th minute on a goal from Erin Simmons and then stretched its lead to 2-0 nearly 11 minutes into the second half when Alyssa Cathey found the back of the net off a pass from Chelsey Maiden.
"We were exposed to some areas we need to strengthen and improve on, and I'm sure we'll do that," Roberts said. "We are still very optimistic about our chances this season. We need to come out a little stronger at the start and we'll be fine."
After Thorpe's goal cut the Marshall advantage to 2-1, Ball State remained on the attack and gave itself opportunities to even the score but was unable to find the equalizer as the Thundering Herd defeated the Cardinals for only the first time in the past five meetings.
"We had a lot of chances that we just didn't convert," Roberts said. "We controlled the majority of the second half, but we didn't finish."
Simmons, who also assisted on Marshall's third goal, finished with a game-high four shots and three on goal, while Ball State's Nicole Pembleton, Paige Stroinski and Alyssa Ables were credited with two shots each for the Cardinals.
Senior goalkeeper Aubrey Buehler, who started 19 contests a season ago, earned the nod in goal for Ball State and finished with seven saves. Lindsey Kerns made three saves for Marshall.
Friday's contest was played outside the Marshall campus at nearby Huntington High School with the Thundering Herd in the process of building a new facility on campus.