Girls Non-conference Alexander Central: 57 Newton-Conover: 33 East Burke: 62 St. Stephens: 53 Fred T.…
The App State Mountaineers (11-4, 5-1 MAC) have punched their ticket to the MAC Tournament in head coach Emily Dinsmore’s first year after shutting out the Ball State Cardinals (6-9, 2-4 MAC) on Friday, 1-0 for their sixth consecutive win. It is the third consecutive shutout posted by the Mountaineers and fourth of the season.
Fifth-year goalkeeper Addie Clark enjoyed another phenomenal day between the posts for the Mountaineers, saving eight Cardinal shots and stopping every offensive chance the Cardinals generated in the contest.
“It’s always rewarding to post a shutout,” Clark said. “To have three in a row speaks to all the effort that we’ve put in at practice and the chemistry that we’ve been able to build in the back field. It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to taking the field again Sunday.”
A first-quarter goal by Lise Boekaar was all the Mountaineers needed on offense today. The sophomore forward avoided pressure and handled the ball into the circle where she swatted a shot past Cardinal goalkeeper Hannah Johnston as she was falling to the ground in an incredible display of athleticism. For Boekaar, it was her third goal and second game-winning goal of the year.
In Dinsmore’s first year at the helm, she has guided her squad to its second consecutive MAC Tournament appearance. After beating Queens last Sunday to earn her 10th career win, she became the first Mountaineer head coach in 20 years to win 10 games in her first season. She sits two wins away from passing Mountaineer legend Jan Watson’s record for wins by a first-year head coach.
“I’m so excited for this team to go back to the conference tournament,” Dinsmore said. “Making it back to the tournament is exactly what we set out to do this season and we’re excited to accomplish that mission.”
This contest started with multiple early attacking chances for the Mountaineers as the Black & Gold got the ball into the circle twice within the first five minutes. Both times, however, the Cardinals were able to swat the ball out and stop the chance.
Ball State fired the game’s first two shots in the fourth minute of play as both Grace Clokie and Paloma Rengifo fired shots at Clark, who swatted both attempts away. Clark, who came into Friday’s contest with the second-lowest goals-against average in the conference, would see her mark drop again on Friday.
Shortly after Ball State’s first chance, they would earn another chance to score, drawing a penalty corner just 10 seconds later. Off the insert, Kerrienne McClay would take her turn at Clark, but the fifth-year goalkeeper dove to make a clutch save and stop the chance.
The Mountaineers would generate their best scoring chance of the first period after forcing a turnover on their side of the field in the seventh minute. Sophia Baxter would take the ball up the far side of the field and dish it into the circle for Lise Boekaar who dribbled the ball through pressure and scored an acrobatic goal while falling to the ground. It was an impressive display of athleticism and would give the Mountaineers an early lead.
The defense would apply terrific pressure on the Cardinal offense throughout the first period and never allowed Ball State to get comfortable in the shooting circle. When the first quarter ended, App State led 1-0 off Boekaar’s score.
App State would begin the second period with a great scoring chance thanks to great ball pressure by Hadley Kuzmicky. The sophomore would take the ball and swing to Bosma in the circle who would fire a shot, but Johnston was there to knock it away. Johnston had an impressive day herself in the cage, saving five shots.
The Mountaineers would draw a penalty corner in the 18th minute and drew up a great play off the insert. After a pass to Boekaar in the circle, she found herself wide open, but the resulting shot missed wide, ending the chance.
Although the Mountaineers drew plenty of offensive chances, the defense was the main story of the first half as App State dominated possession throughout the first 30 minutes and would hold Ball State scoreless heading into the halftime break, marking the sixth consecutive shutout half posted by the Mountaineer defense. App State would outshoot and outcorner Ball State in the first half and take a 1-0 lead into the break.
The Cardinals made some significant halftime adjustments on Friday as they would come out of the half looking to take control of the game. Just two minutes into the half, Ball State would draw a penalty corner to spark the team’s first second-half scoring chance. The resulting shot off the insert was saved beautifully by Clark, who made a terrific sprawling save and sent the ball out of the circle. The Mountaineers athleticism was on full display at Briner Sports Complex Friday.
Paloma Rengifo would generate another chance for the Cardinals in the 36th minute as she would take a shot that Clark calmly saved. It was a tough task for Ball State to generate any chances on Friday against App State, but when they did, Clark was there to stop them.
A late third-quarter flurry from the Mountaineers would end the period as both Donovan and Boekaar would get into the circle and take shots. Donovan, who scored her third goal of the year last Sunday, had her shot saved by Johnston. When the third quarter horn sounded, App State still led by one score.
App State would draw their fifth penalty corner of the contest early in the period after Sarah Callery’s shot attempt wasn’t cleared by Johnston. Off the insert and stick stop, Bosma slapped a shot on goal, but Johnston was there to save it. Both teams played very well on penalty corners with neither team scoring on 10 combined corners.
Looking to force overtime, the Cardinals would take a bad pass from Sarah Perkins on the Cardinals’ side of the field and take the ball into the circle. Fleur Knopert, the MAC’s leading goal-scorer coming into play on Friday, fired a shot off the turnover, but Clark made a fantastic play, saving the shot and running out to prevent any further attempts by the Cardinals.
The Mountaineers were content to burn the clock after Knopert’s chance and would do exactly that, keeping the ball away from Ball State’s side of the field. When the final horn sounded, the Mountaineers had earned their sixth straight win, fifth consecutive win away from home and third straight shutout. App State would also clinch a spot in the MAC Tournament with the win on Friday, making it two consecutive seasons the Mountaineers will play in the postseason.
“I’m super proud of the team and the way they have persevered this season,” Dinsmore said. “We scored early today and that was a difference maker, but the defense stood strong for the third time in a row. The effort and the fight from the team today was amazing.”
App State will now turn its attention to another ranked battle, as they travel to Louisville, Ky., for the second time this season to face the No. 8 Louisville Cardinals Sunday. First touch is slated for noon and can be streamed on the ACC Network Extra.