Senior midfileder Allison Abbe retreats after a failed attempt to score during the game against Appalachian State at the Briner Sports Complex on Aug. 27. The Cardinals tied the game 1-1. Kyle Crawford, DN File
Soccer faces challenges in non-conference schedule
Ball State soccer saw improvement over the weekend during its Texas road trip after facing a pair of Big 12 Conference opponents in Texas-Christian University and Baylor.
In both games, Ball State (1-4-1) came up just one goal short to put them 0-2 on the weekend. Besides what the scoreboard projected, head coach Craig Roberts prides his team in its ability to compete this weekend.
“The girls performed well down there, especially with the complications we experienced traveling down there,” Roberts said. “After 15 hours of travel, they went out and competed and did really well in the heart of our competition.”
TCU (5-1-0), a team who competed in the NCAA Tournament last season, took an early 2-0 lead in just 20 minutes of play in the first game of the weekend Friday. In a fight to come back, the Cardinals more than held their own during the final 70 minutes of a 2-1 loss.
Ball State closed out the weekend with a high-intensity game against Baylor. Both teams were even at the half with no goals. It wasn’t until the 78th minute of play that Baylor forward Jackie Crowther put the ball to the net, to result in a 1-0 win over the Cardinals.
“We grew in both games as a team,” Roberts said. “They had to enhance their game against both opponents this weekend. Both teams have high level forwards and tough defense. We stepped it up and gained more confidence in covering and saw some solid play. Both goalkeepers were outstanding.”
Senior goalkeepers for the Cardinals Alyssa Heintschel and Tristin Stuteville combined for nine saves on the weekend.
The team will continue a three-game road stretch of non-conference play this weekend. Roberts would like to see his team capitalize on these games before entering Mid-American Conference play.
“We want to enhance scoring and enhance defensively against strong opposition,” Roberts said. “We also want to develop more of an attacking style and increase the amount of goals we score in these upcoming games.”
Ball State will take a short trip to in-state rival IUPUI (3-3) this Friday. The Jaguars will enter Friday’s contest with momentum on their side after two big wins over Manhattan and Wagner.
“IUPUI is a good team and just came off two solid wins,” Roberts said. “It’s always competitive when facing an in-state rival. We want to carry over the standard that we’ve set after playing two Big 12 teams in TCU and Baylor and be consistent.
The Cardinals and Jaguars will kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday at Michael A. Carroll Stadium.