Conor Hockett

The Ball State soccer team passed on its chance to play exhibition games in the
preseason, choosing instead to drill and practice certain situations.

In Friday's season opener at Marshall, the one area Ball State didn't practice-live
games-hurt them the most.

The Cardinals lost 3-1 to the Thundering Herd, Ball State's first season-opening loss
in coach Craig Roberts tenure.

"Marshall came out and was pretty physical with us," Roberts said. "For whatever
reason, we did not match up physically."

Marshall opened the scoring with a goal in the 28th minute from forward Erin
Simmons and then stretched its lead in the 56th minute on a goal from midfielder
Alyssa Cathey. They finished out the scoring in the 83rd minute on a Lizzy Lemmons
goal.

With three seniors and one sophomore who started nearly every game together
last season, giving up that many goals isn't something Roberts and the Cardinals are
used to.

Ball State gave up three or more goals in only four of 21 games last season.

"They were literally just breakdowns," Roberts said. "I just thought we exposed
ourselves at the wrong time and they jumped on their opportunities."

Ball State's lone goal came in the 70th minute when senior forward Shaniece Thorpe
scored off a pass from freshman Aubrey Hauenstein. It was answered 12 minutes
later by Lemmons, which effectively closed the game.

Roberts was noticeably disappointed with his team's loss after the game, but
remains optimistic. Despite the two-goal defeat, he said the game could have easily
gone Ball State's way.

"There were small, minor mistakes (we made) that you're going to see at the start
of the season," Roberts. "Marshall is a good team and they battled well and were
organized. We had our chances and we just didn't convert them. I felt if we would
have converted those chances, we would have won the game."