Freshman forward Sam Kambol moves the ball upfield at the game against Western Michigan at Briner Sports Complex on Oct. 6, 2017. Kyle Crawford, DN File
Ball State soccer favored in 2017 MAC preseason poll
Ball State soccer is favored to win the 2017 Mid-American Conference West Division and tournament title.
The Cardinals received seven votes to finish at MAC West Champions and four to win the conference tournament in the conference's preseason coaches poll. Central Michigan was close behind, receiving three votes in both the division and championship voting.
The past two seasons, the Cardinals have secured MAC West Division regular season championships, going 19-2-1 in conference play during that time.
While the Cardinals have seen a lot of regular season success, that has not translated to the tournament. Ball State has been eliminated in the first round of the conference tournament each of the past two years, both in penalty kicks.
Last season, Ball state finished 14-3-3 overall (9-1-1 MAC) under the direction of head coach Craig Roberts, who enters his eighth season this year.
Ball State didn't lose a lot of talent either, returning top three scorers in sophomore forward Sam Kambol (6), junior midfielder Emily Scott (5) and junior midfielder Lauren Roll (4). Senior goalkeepers Alyssa Heintschel and Tristin Stuteville also return to an experienced Cardinals lineup.
Ball State opens up its season on Friday, Aug. 18 against in-state rival Fort Wayne before traveling to South Bend on Aug. 20 to take on Notre Dame.