Cardinals Face Miami in Friday’s MAC Soccer Semis
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State soccer team travels this weekend to Ypsilanti, Mich., where the Mid-American Conference Tournament champion will be crowned.
The Cardinals are one of four teams still alive and will play Miami University in the second semifinal game Friday at 2 p.m. at Eastern Michigan’s Scicluna Field. EMU will host Western Michigan in the first semifinal contest of the day.
The championship game will be played Sunday at 1 p.m. with the winner claiming the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Live stats for each of this weekend’s game are available at Championship Headquarters at mac-sports.com.
Ball State is competing in the semifinals for the first time since 2007 and the third time ever. The Cardinals earned their spot by virtue of a 2-1 road victory Sunday at Central Michigan, sealing the win with Gabby Veldman’s goal in the 87th minute.
The tournament’s No. 6 seed, Ball was the only team outside the top four seeds to advance through the quarterfinals. The Cardinals defeated the third-seeded Chippewas and now face No. 2 seed Miami.
The RedHawks, attempting to defend their MAC Tournament title, advanced to the semifinals with a 3-0 home victory over Northern Illinois. Ball State and Miami own identical 11-6-3 records, but the RedHawks are the better-seeded team by virtue of a better mark in conference play.
Friday’s contest will be a rematch of the final regular-season game that saw Miami post a 3-2 win on a rainy, windy day in Muncie. It was the only time all season Ball State allowed three goals in a game.
Elaina Musleh and Victoria Jacobs scored the Ball State goals that day. Musleh has scored in two straight contests and leads the team with 11 total points on four goals and three assists. Jacobs is the team’s leader in goals with five.
For the second straight tournament game, Ball State will be squaring off with another of the league’s top defensive teams. Miami tied Central Michigan for the lowest goals against average during MAC play at 0.51, while Ball State owns the league’s best goals against average for the entire season at 0.90.
The RedHawks enter Friday’s game with the longest active unbeaten streak in the MAC at 11 games, going 8-0-3 since the second game of conference play. Five different Miami players have scored at least five goals this season, led by Katy Dolesh and Kelsey Dinges with seven each.
A win Friday against the RedHawks would vault Ball State into the championship game for the first time ever. The Cardinals fell one game short of the title game in their previous semifinal appearances in 2002 and 2007.