SOCCER: Ball State falls to in-state rival IUPUI
Cardinals register 17 shots but unable to score in 1-0 loss
After each game, coach Craig Roberts takes the Ball State soccer team behind the field hockey field to a small hill surrounded by pine trees to discuss performance in private.
On Friday, the Cardinals' seclusion couldn't hide Roberts' harsh tone as it carried across the field.
Following Ball State's 1-0 loss to IUPUI, the message was clear: an inability to finish will no longer be tolerated.
"I thought we moved the ball well, but it's the product at the end of the day [that matters]," Roberts said. "When they get in the attacking third, they've got to make sure they're finishing. We cannot go through games where we have a repeat of last season, endless shots on goal without converting. It's just unacceptable."
It is a problem both Roberts and the team is tired of talking about and anxious to fix.
For players like senior defender Brigit Reder, frustrations are boiling over to the point of wishing different players would get a chance to show their skills.
"Chances that I have on corner kicks and set pieces, there's only so much I can do," Reder said. "When you're sitting there, seeing the play develop and then not converting in the final third, it sucks. You're back there and you can't do much about it except for reorganize and remotivate. I wish I could have my personnel on the field sometimes, but it is what it is."
Where Ball State spoiled its 17 shot opportunities, IUPUI turned a botched clearance attempt into the lone goal of the match.
In the 82nd minute, the Jaguars junior midfielder Mackenzie Calvert picked up a loose ball inside the box and took two dribbles before ripping off a shot that skidded off senior goalkeeper Aubrey Buehler's hand for a goal.
"We didn't have our entire team tracking back on the ball," Reder said. "We had four defenders and as their midfield came up, nobody tracked back. If they get chance after chance, and we let down for a split second, they're going to convert."
For a team that scored twice in four matches heading into Friday's game, IUPUI's goal came too easily.
Although Calvert had a free run on goal, her shot went straight at the keeper. Buehler sprawled out to close the angle, but her effort should have been better.
"From a goalie perspective, they always talk about cutting off near post,"Reder said. "It was near post shot, so yeah, I guess it should have been a save. At the same time, you can only put so much pressure on Aubrey [Buehler] when you've got a free [open] girl right in front of you."
It was the second time Buehler let in a questionable goal in as many games. Against Xavier on Sunday, the Musketeers' one goal came off another Buehler deflection, which should have been stopped.
Roberts said Buehler won the job in preseason over both sophomore Emma Crenshaw and junior Layne Schramm, but things may change.
"If there's an adjustment where you're not getting the win, you have to re-evaluate who's playing," Roberts said. "We may have to do that in this case."
With its 2-2 record, the team isn't waiting for a losing season, or even Sunday's game against IPFW, to make adjustments. Roberts hinted after the game other changes might happen, a decision Reder said she would support.
"I would like to see [large-scale changes] happen," Reder said. "We're going to re-evaluate this week, so we'll see if they happen. I think people are going to get a chance to show themselves in practice who haven't got playing time before. I really hope [Roberts] takes into consideration those players who haven't [had] their time in a game. There are a couple girls, in my opinion, who if they keep working hard, will get their time on the field."