Ball State prepares to challenge in-state rival Indiana this weekend
After a 2-1 overtime win over Lehigh on Sunday to break a three-game losing streak, Ball State field hockey (3-3) looks to carry momentum into the weekend as it takes on Saint Francis and Indiana.
Besides the overtime win in its last contest, Ball State lost an overtime thriller to U-Mass Lowell two games ago.
“I think we definitely reiterated that we didn’t want to do the same thing against UMass-Lowell,” head coach Christy Longacre said. “We were making sure that we were stepping out and playing man-to-man as we were at even numbers. We communicated and played as a team in that overtime period.”
Not only has the team learned and improved on its past mistakes, but it have rallied off of its success as well. Junior midfielder Anya Eicher thinks the win over Lehigh served as a pick-me-up for the team's momentum.
“After breaking that three-game losing streak, it is nice to have that energy back up so we can win games, even when it comes down to the wire," Eicher said. “We are looking forward to see what we can do against these two teams this weekend.”
This weekend, the Cardinals will meet the Hoosiers for the second time this season in an official match. Their first meeting was a pre-season scrimmage where Ball State fell to Indiana, 6-2. However, the second time around will be a different match for both teams.
“We are going to play our game,” Eicher said. “We have played them before in the scrimmage, but that really doesn’t say anything because both teams are still figuring things out. They’re going to bring new things to the table, and so are we."
The Cardinal defense continued to stand tall last weekend. The team only gave up four penalty corners, with zero in the second half, against Lehigh. Freshman Grace Chavez recorded six saves on seven shots. Longacre said the team's defensive will play as a key component this weekend.
“Defense is going to be huge this weekend,” Longacre said. “[Indiana] is very dangerous going forward, so we need to be disciplined under our 25.”
While the in-state rival will be the highlight of the weekend, Saint Francis is not to be overlooked. The Red Flash is currently on a three-game win streak and is coming off a strong 6-2 win against Colgate last weekend. Saint Francis has also fared well against Mid-American Conference opposition this season with a win over Central Michigan and a close 1-0 loss to Kent State.
“We need to play the entire 70 minutes this weekend and keep attacking and defending with all of our numbers,” Longacre said. “We want to start on that front foot early and counting to stay on it throughout the entire game.”