Ball State’s football and cross country teams will make their season debuts this weekend, while the field hockey, soccer and volleyball teams continue their seasons on the road.

 in the Butler Open, held at Northview Christian Church in Carmel at 6:45 p.m.

Field hockey will travel to Louisville, Kentucky, for matchups against Brown and Richmond on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3, while the soccer team flies out to Los Angeles to play Cal State Northridge Friday and Loyola Marymount Sept. 4. Meanwhile, women’s volleyball makes the trip to Nebraska for the Omaha Classic.

Weekend schedule (all times Eastern)

Friday, Sept. 2

12 p.m. Field hockey vs. Brown (Louisville, Kentucky)

2 p.m. Women's volleyball at Omaha (Omaha, Nebraska)

6 p.m. Women's volleyball vs. Drake (Omaha, Nebraska)

6:45 p.m. Cross country at the Butler Open (Carmel)

7 p.m. Football at Georgia State (Atlanta)

10 p.m. Soccer at Cal State Northridge (Northridge, California)

Saturday, Sept. 3

1 p.m. Women's volleyball vs. South Dakota (Omaha, Nebraska)

1:15 p.m. Field hockey vs. Richmond (Louisville, Kentucky)

Sunday, Sept. 4

2 p.m. Soccer at Loyola Marymount (Los Angeles)

Football

Ball State head coach Mike Neu will make his collegiate head coaching debut at Georgia State Sept. 2.

Last season, the Cardinals (3-9, 1-7 MAC) gave up 412 passing yards in a 31-19 loss to the Panthers (6-7, 5-3 Sun Belt). Georgia State returns seven offensive starters, including senior wide receiver Robert Davis, who finished with nine receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown in that game.

The Panthers, however, will need to replace quarterback Nick Arbuckle, a senior last year. Georgia State head coach Trent Miles isn’t planning on announcing a starting quarterback until right before kickoff, but that doesn’t worry senior Ball State cornerback Tyree Holder.

“It’s not going to change how we play,” Holder said. “We’re still going to go hard and give complete effort every time.” 

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3.

Cross Country 

Half of the Cardinals' runners will run in their first collegiate race in the Butler Open Sept. 2.

Eight of the team's 16 athletes are freshmen this year, but head coach Brian Etelman thinks they will handle it well.

“We’ve made sure they are confident enough to go into any situation,” he said. "Many of them were really good in high school, so they know how to handle a race environment.” 

High temperatures and humidity levels are expected continue this weekend, but Etelman said he doesn’t think it will be a problem.

“We ran our pre-season camp for four days in Nashville, Tennessee,” he said.  “We were running doubles [in the morning and afternoon] and even in the morning, it was about 80 degrees…They’ll handle the heat fine.”

The meet, held at Northview Christian Church in Carmel, starts at 6:45 p.m.

Field Hockey

After a rough 2-17 campaign last year, Ball State (2-0) has an opportunity to surpass its win total in just its third game of the season when it plays Brown University (0-0) on Sept. 2 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Senior midfielder Mikayla Mooney has been the team’s leading scorer, scoring two goals so far.

Brown is playing its first game of the 2016 season after finishing 7-10 (1-6 Ivy League) last season. The game is scheduled to start at 12 p.m.

The Cardinals will also face the University of Richmond (1-1) in Louisville on Sept. 3 at 1:15 p.m.

Soccer 

The Cardinals will take their five-game unbeaten streak to the west coast this weekend when it takes on Cal State Northridge (2-1-1) and Loyola Marymount University (1-1-1).

Head coach Craig Roberts said cross-country trips can provide additional motivation to the players.

“I think it’s the adrenaline and excitement of going to a unique place,” Roberts said. “We don’t think of it as a negative or a long journey, we get excited and embrace the whole experience.”

While CSUN (2-1-1) plays a style similar to the Cardinals, Loyola Marymount (1-1-1) tends to play with a more technical approach. Roberts said it’s important for the Cardinals to get a chance to see these different types of play early in the season.

“If we want to move on to the [NCAA tournament], we’ll experience teams with different styles,” Roberts said. “We’ll have to make sure we’re aware of that and know how to use our strengths to defuse their offense.” 

The Cardinals will play CSUN Sept. 2 at 10 p.m. and then will play Loyola Marymount Sept. 4 at 2 p.m.

Women's volleyball

Ball State (0-4) will make its first appearance in the Omaha Classic this weekend, where it will play Omaha (0-3), Drake (3-1) and South Dakota (2-1).

Head coach Kelli Miller said the Cardinals need to finish sets in order to get their first win of the season during the trip to Nebraska.

“We’ve been in position to win a lot of games and have let them slip away,” she said. “That’s where we have to have some confident players step up to the plate when it matters.”

The Cardinals have two matches on Sept. 2. The first is against Omaha at 2 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. game against Drake. Their final game of the Omaha Classic is Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. against South Dakota.