For freshman Kate Howarth, not starting was a wake-up call.
UM dominated Ball State in a 5-1 rout Friday night at Cobb Stadium as Howarth recorded a hat trick. They were the first three goals of her young Canes career.
Howarth came out strong and motivated to get back in the starting lineup after being benched.
“You never know how they’re going to respond,” head coach Tricia Taliaferro said. “But we always knew [Howarth] was tough.”
The first goal came in the 37th minute on a center by sophomore Danielle Bidegain which Howarth headed softly to lob the ball over the goalie to the upper left hand corner.
Howarth’s second goal occurred less than five minutes later. Freshman Emilie Huser and junior Katie Oddo combined for three quick touches in the box that left Howarth in front of the Ball State goalie, shooting the ball to the bottom left hand corner.
“After the second goal, I wanted to get the other one and try to help the team,” Howarth said.
She completed the hat trick in the 65th minute sliding to beat the goalie on a cross by Bidegain.
The few approaches by Ball State were long distance shots with their lone goal coming in the 54th minute off a superb shot in which the ball curved past sophomore goalie Vikki Alonzo’s outstretched body into the far post.
“We’ve been practicing defense and working on our depth,” said junior defender Brittney Macdonald. “Our defense has been working hard so it shows.”
In the 55th minute senior Beverly Goebel cut through the Ball State midfield and filtered the ball through to sophomore Julianne Rickers who shot the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
After Howarth’s goal in the 65th minute, freshman Samantha Falk capped off the game with a goal off a keeper deflection.
Despite the win, the biggest deficiency for the Canes was offsides. The Canes ended up with 23 offside infractions, while Ball State tallied zero the entire game.
“I was not happy about that,” said Coach Taliaferro, “I think that’s just another level of sophistication because it’s something we haven’t seen before. I think it shows we’re willing to press numbers up.”
The Canes next face Western Carolina Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Cobb Stadium.