Mount Pleasant, Mich. - The chances were there all afternoon, it just took the Central Michigan field hockey team a little longer than they would have liked to convert on them.
After failing to convert on their first eight penalty corners of the contest, the Chippewas (6-9, 3-1 MAC) finally converted when junior Jordyn Brengosz found the back of the cage in the 45th minute for what proved to be the game-winning goal in a 2-0 shutout of Missouri State.
Brengosz took the corner for the Chippewas and found herself in front of the cage when she redirected a shot by sophomroe Anne Middeldorp past the Bears' (3-12, 0-4 MAC) goalkeeper at the 44:44 mark. Junior Cayleigh Immelman was also credited with an assist on the play.
The goal would be all the Maroon and Gold would need as their defense limited Missouri State to just three total shots on the day, none of which met sophomore goalkeeper Sadie Reynolds in posting her third shutout of the season.
"I knew it was going to be tough," head coach Cristy Freese said. "Missouri State is a good offensive team and they created challenges for us. It was good to get the shutout. We put good pressure on them and especially in the second half we took the game over offensively. We are still hoping to play for a regular-season championship."
The Chippewas were able to seal the victory late in the match when Immelman found herself in a one-on-two sitatuion that resulted in a penalty shot. Senior Bailey McKeon converted the penalty shot for her fourth goal of the season with eight seconds remaining.
CMU held a distinct 13-2 advantage in penalty corners and 13-3 advantage in shots. Missouri State's Andrea Bain made five saves in the match to keep the Bears within striking distance, but the CMU defense proved too tough for the Bears to break.
"The defense was great," Freese said. "They did a great job of backing each other up. Sadie said she had enjoyed having a calm game, but we play Northwestern tomorrow so I'm sure she'll get a chance to face some shots."
The victory sets the Chippewas up for a chance to earn at least a share of the MAC regular season title as they will head to Oxford, Ohio next weekend for a match against the Miami RedHawks. Both the RedHawks and Chippewas sit a game behind MAC leader Kent State, with Miami and Kent State set to square off tomorrow afternoon at Kent.
The Chippewas will play their home finale tomorrow afternoon versus No. 13 Northwestern. The game is set for a noon start and will be preceded with a recognition of CMU's seven seniors playing in their final home game.