Women’s soccer stuns opponent in quarterfinal


Freshman forward Abby Gregg chases down the ball alongside an opposing player during a Sept. 18 match against Illinois State University. 

By Krystal Ward

Women’s soccer (5-10-4, 3-6-2 Mid-American Conference) defeated the top-seed Ball State University Cardinals in a 4-3 penalty kick shootout yesterday in Muncie, Indiana to advance to the Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals.

The Huskies came into the MAC tournament as the eighth seed, and before yesterday had not collected a win in their last seven matches. NIU also had not beaten the Cardinals since 2010 with Ball State defeating NIU 2-0 Oct. 9 in the regular season matchup.

The match went into a best-of-five penalty kick shootout where NIU sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Lee made two huge saves.

“We’ve been taking [penalty kicks] at practice for a couple of weeks now,” NIU Head Coach John Ross said. “We had an idea of who was comfortable, where they go, what type of shots they take and we narrowed it down last night.”

NIU junior midfielder Allie Ingham struck first in the shootout to give the Huskies the advantage and Lee saved the Cardinals’ first penalty kick by Allison Abbe, junior midfielder and forward.

The Huskies sophomore forward Taylor Sarver and freshman forward Natalie Yaas found the back of the net for NIU, while Cardinals’ senior defender Lorina White and freshman midfielder Monica Padilla scored to cut into a 3-2 Huskies’ lead.

NIU junior defender Natalia Pena’s shot was saved by Cardinals’ junior goalkeeper Alyssa Heintschel and sophomore midfielder Paula Guerrero scored to pull Ball State into a 3-3 tie in the shootout.

Huskies’ senior midfielder Haley Cummings scored to put NIU up 4-3, and coupled with Lee’s second huge save in penalty kicks, sent NIU into a semifinals matchup with Western Michigan University on Friday.

The Cardinals scored the first of the match in the 38th  minute on an unassisted goal by freshman forward Sam Kambol. Kambol scored from the top of the box to give Ball State a 1-0 lead, but from then on the Huskies defense stifled the Cardinals’ offense, thwarting any opportunities Ball State created.

In the 58th minute, Sarver scored the equalizer on a long free kick taken by Yaas to tie the game, 1-1.

10 minutes before the end of regulation Yaas took a corner kick that hit the top of the crossbar, but the play was called out of bounds before the Huskies headed the ball in net.

Neither team scored in the two, 10-minute sudden-death overtime periods, though Ball State came close in the 95th minute on a free kick that hit off the post.

The semifinal matchup will be played at 3 p.m. against Western Michigan in Kent, Ohio at Kent State University. The winner will play the winner of Kent State University versus Western Michigan University.