Senior Nicole Samuel scores game-winning goal in double overtime on Senior Day

Emily Brouwer/Staff Photographer Ball State senior mid-fielder Michelle Blok guards CMU senior fielder Nicole Samuel during a soccer game against the Ball State Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at the Bennett Track on the campus of Central Michigan University.

Senior Day could not have had a more perfect ending.

The soccer team defeated Ball State 1-0 in a double overtime thriller Sunday afternoon at the CMU Soccer Complex.

Senior Nicole Samuel scored her second goal of the season on a breakaway attempt with just over six minutes remaining in the second overtime.

Samuel snuck past the defense and popped the ball just over the outstretched arm of Ball State goalkeeper Layne Schramm, igniting what the forward called a “flurry” of emotions.

“It was pretty emotional for me,” Samuel said. “Having gone through so much this season and my entire time here (at CMU) made it really special. I’ll really remember this for a while.”

Head coach Peter McGahey called the moment unforgettable.

“All the ups and downs this year and then to be recognized before the game was very nice for all of them,” McGahey said. “To get a senior to score a very good goal in one of her last games here on a day like today … that’s a memory that will last a lifetime.”

The memory would not have happened if it had not been for another stellar defensive performance from Grace Labrecque, who stopped all eight shots the Cardinals put on net.

Late in the first half, Labrecque made a diving save that kept the game scoreless after CMU blew a defensive assignment.

Labrecque might not have saved a rocket shot from the goal line Ball State put on just 40 seconds before Samuel’s eventual game-winning goal. Thankfully, freshman defenseman Kaylin Hoomaian made a diving kick save to keep the game going, and the Chippewas scored on the ensuing offensive possession.

“It was a total team win. These are the types of games we feel very proud about,” McGahey said. “Our confidence is key as we end the regular season and prepare for the postseason.”

Although her season statistics might not reflect it, McGahey said Samuel, at times, is the best forward on the team.

“She defends her position really well,” McGahey said. “When she gets the ball she is patient and lets things develop around her. A first class performance from her today for sure.”

Even on a day when the spotlight burned brightest in her direction, Samuel refused to take total credit for the victory.

“Being able to get that goal for my team … that’s the important part; it made me so excited,” she said. “We trust each other. We don’t expect anything less than our best from one another. We do this for us.”