MUNCIE, IND. - Skylar Chew scored with just 35 seconds left in the second overtime period, lifting host Ball State University to a 1-0 win over the Bowling Green State University women's soccer team Friday afternoon (Oct. 19). The Mid-American Conference match was held at the Briner Sports Complex.
The win improves BSU's record to 8-5-4 overall and 5-2-2 in MAC action, while the Falcons dropped to 1-15-1 and 0-8-1, respectively.
"It was certainly disappointing to lose in that fashion, but I couldn't be more proud of our players," said BGSU interim head coach Kellie Evans. "They put forth a tremendous effort all over the field. They did what we asked them to do, and were incredibly disciplined in what we were trying to accomplish today.
"Ball State is a very big, athletic team with a lot of talented players, and they had some good chances. But, I could not be more proud of our entire team."
The result put a damper on a stellar game by Falcon freshman Jenna Underwood, who made a career-high 12 saves in goal. The save total nearly doubled her previous high of seven stops, set in last weekend's Buffalo match.
Underwood's save total was the highest by a BGSU player in over four years, and was just one away from matching the school record for saves in a MAC game.
"Jenna had an amazing day in goal today, with not just 12 saves, but 12 big saves," said Evans. "She stopped some point-blank shots, made herself big when she needed to, and just had a fantastic day."
On a cold, rainy afternoon, Underwood had seven saves in the second half alone, along with three in the opening period and one in each of the two overtime sessions. Even on the winning play, the Falcon 'keeper made a difficult save just prior to the goal.
That goal came after a BGSU foul in the defensive end of the pitch. The Cardinals' Pavla Benyrova took the free kick, and played a diagonal ball into the box. Chew, one of a number of players running toward the goal, got a head on the ball to redirect it on net, but Underwood made the point-blank save in traffic. The rebound, however, came back to Chew, who knocked it home in the 110th minute of play.
The Cardinals had a total of 32 shots in the match, including no fewer than 19 over the final 10 minutes of regulation and the overtimes. Underwood was nothing short of spectacular during that stretch, making a nice save on a shot by Maggie Brown with under eight minutes left in the second half, then making no fewer than three stops in a span of just over a minute.
That sequence began when a corner kick by Amanda Dreyfus found the head of Victoria Jacobs with two and a half minutes left in regulation. The header by Jacobs forced Underwood to go down to the ground to make the save, and the 'keeper grabbed the ball to avoid giving up a rebound with two BSU players lurking nearby.
Then, with 1:15 left in the second period, Underwood made back-to-back stops. First, she parried a hard shot by Nicole Pembleton from the left side. The rebound went to Michelle Blok on the other side of the box, and Blok hit a scorcher toward net. Underwood, however, made a diving effort to her right to save the shot at the far post and send the match to overtime.
Early in the first OT period, after the Falcons' lone corner kick of the day, a counterattack by the Cardinals led to a two-on-none breakaway. Pembleton came toward the box with Brown on her right and only Underwood to beat. But, the BG goalie left her line, diving at the feet of Pembleton to get a hand on the ball. The ball bounded toward the end line on the right side of goal, and Brown caught up to it before it went out of bounds, but was unable to put a follow try on frame.
The home team had three more shot attempts over the final five minutes of the first OT period, and BSU fired no fewer than seven shots in the second extra session. Those seven shots did not include a corner kick that curved toward net and was blocked by BG senior Leah Johnson.
While the Cardinals had a 32-7 advantage in shot attempts on the rainy afternoon, the Falcons enjoyed the better of the play for several stretches. Early in the second period, a BGSU cross was blocked out of the box by a Ball State defender. The ball came to sophomore Ashley Garr, approximately 22 yards from goal. Garr settled the ball and hit a volley that went over the head of BSU 'keeper Aubrey Buehler and rang off the crossbar. A follow try by junior Kaitlyn Tobin went wide.
With roughly 11 minutes left in regulation, sophomore Kaylee Draper played a diagonal ball into the box, where sophomore Sidney Huth and Tobin were waiting. Huth and a BSU backliner battled for the ball, and Tobin jumped in to steal the ball and fire a quick shot that went just wide.
Tobin led the Falcons with a career-high five shots, putting two on goal. Garr had BG's other two shot attempts on the day, including her volley off the bar. For the home team, Pembleton had six shots, while Brown, Jacobs and Jasmine Moses had four apiece. Buehler made two saves in goal for the Cardinals.