Junior midfielder Lauren Roll dashes for the ball during the game against Appalachian State at the Briner Sports Complex on Aug. 27. They travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on Boston University (2-0) and University of Massachusetts-Lowell (1-1) in the Miami Invitational. Kyle Crawford, DN File
Soccer heads to Texas for two-game swing
Ball State soccer travels to Texas this weekend to take on a pair of Big 12 opponents.
With games against Texas Christian (3-1-0) and Baylor (2-0-1), Ball State (1-2-1) will look to grab their first victory in three games.
“The scheduling for this season has been a lot tougher than what it’s been in past years to start off with,” head coach Craig Roberts said. “We need to keep on pushing ourselves to high levels, especially this weekend as we face tougher opponents.”
Ball State dropped two games in a row to Notre Dame and Xavier last week, a start to the season that looked familiar to last year’s back-to-back early losses to Cal State and Loyola.
“We got the same results last year and I think you need to lose a game to identify some of the errors that you have to work on,” Roberts said. “A loss is not always a bad thing. Right now, this is a learning process for us and I’ll take a loss as long as we progress and get better from it.”
Ball State ended Sunday’s contest against Appalachian State with a 1-1 draw, however, Roberts saw positives in the game that he would like to see his team carry over into this weekend.
“Although we didn’t get two wins the past weekend, we really felt good about how we came out of the weekend,” Roberts said. “We definitely want to move forward in hopes that this type of play continues.”
The Cardinals have three goals on the season thus far, compared to TCU’s 12 and Baylor’s seven.
Junior forward Evie Stepaniak, who scored one of those goals in the team’s season opener against Fort Wayne, plans to put what they’ve worked on this week at practice to the test this weekend.
“Recently during practice, we’ve been working on playing quicker as a team and I think this weekend will really show how much we have improved,” Stepaniak said.
Her mindset is no different when it comes to facing schools out of the Big 12.
“When playing against bigger schools, the girls are a lot stronger and taller, and are good at winning the ball over,” Stepaniak said. “It’s easy to get intimidated, so we have to be able to shake that off and just think of them as any other team. We’re using it as motivation to play harder.”
As the Cardinals return to the road, first touch against TCU is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by a 12 p.m. start against Baylor on Sunday.