Ball State soccer experimenting during spring schedule
Ball State soccer started its spring schedule with two wins as they look to experiment with tactics and integrate new mid-year players.
The Cardinals will play eight games this spring as a tune up for next year’s competitive fall schedule. The Cardinals will look to shake off the rust of winter and use the games to find out the best scheme for the team.
Remaining Spring Schedule
Saturday, April 2 - at Indiana State
Saturday, April 9 - vs. Grace College and Southern Indiana
Friday, April 15 - at Notre Dame
Sunday, April 17 - vs. Alumni
Sunday, April 24 - vs. Haiti
“We need to advance on what we did last season and scheme a little bit differently than we did last season,” said head coach Craig Roberts. “Last season, we primarily played with one forward, and I felt that was the right fit for the team, but we’re developing this scheme now where we have two forwards to try and get a bit of a partnership up top.”
Last season ended with a Mid-American Conference regular season championship, but the Cardinals lost a few players from its lineup.
The team used a number of different formations on March 19 ranging from three and four in defense, as well as the aforementioned two striker lineup.
These games are not just about experimenting with lineups and tactics, but they also allow the team to integrate new players into the squad. Ball State has two incoming transfers who got their first taste of action with the team over the weekend.
Allison Abbe, a junior midfielder from the University of Cincinnati, played in her first game and also contributed her first goal as a Ball State player.
“I played left back at Cincinnati, but I used to be an attacking player, so it felt great to score again,” Abbe said. “I felt good. I’m shaking the rust off a bit, but it felt great being back.”
Another player who saw her first minutes is junior goalkeeper Tristin Stuteville, who transferred from Saint Louis University. Her and veteran junior keeper Alyssa Heintschel combined for two shutouts, continuing Ball State’s defensive success from last season.
The team was tied for first in the MAC with Western Michigan in shutouts (6) but led the conference in goals against average (0.54) and goals allowed (6).
Senior defender Leah Mattingly said the team will need these games to build confidence in order to win the MAC again.
“We have a new team, and we have a goal to win the MAC, and these games are building towards that,” Mattingly said. “We have a lot of freshman who didn’t get enough playing time. It’s good to see people come in and do a great job when they’re asked to step up.”
Roberts is also looking to see which players step up for next year.
“We’re looking to see what impact they’re going to have on the game,” he said. “We’re looking for players who take over the game and who are pivotal in how successful we are going to be.”
The team will continue their spring games April 2 against Indiana State at Carroll Stadium on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.