Ball State junior midfielder Amanda Shaw kicks the ball upfield on Sept. 15 at the game against Western Illinois in Briner Sports Complex. Ball State soccer opens up its conference schedule with a two-game road trip this weekend to face a pair of Mid-American Conference opponents in Bowling Green and Toledo. Harrison Raft, DN File
Soccer opens MAC play with pair of road games
Ball State soccer opens up its conference schedule with a two-game road trip this weekend to face a pair of Mid-American Conference opponents in Bowling Green and Toledo.
The Cardinals (2-5-1) are looking to build on last Friday’s game, in their first true offensive outburst of the season.
“The last game we had was the first time all of our players were healthy, so it was the first time we got to get a real look at what we’ve got,” head coach Craig Roberts said. “We have a lot of striking power, we can score goals it’s just a matter of putting it into action.”
Ball State’s first MAC game comes Friday against Bowling Green (5-2-0), who is riding the momentum of a three-game win streak thanks in part to senior forward Slylar Fleak.
“We have to keep a close eye [on Fleak] and shut that down,” Roberts said. “She’s their leading scorer, so we’ll have to remain consistent and patient with our defense.”
The Cardinals defeated Bowling Green 2-0 in last year’s matchup at Briner Sports Complex.
Ball State tested itself in the nonconference portion of its schedule, with games against Big 12 opponents in Baylor and TCU, in addition to then ranked No. 18 Notre Dame. Roberts looks at these games as an early test as they now enter MAC play.
“I think that the games we’ve scheduled have prepared us for a faster level of play, so I think we’ll be prepared for what they have to throw at us,” Roberts said.
Ball State has had success during MAC play over the past two years, as they recorded 19 wins to tie for the most wins had in the conference in a two-year span. The Cardinals will strive to make history, as achieving a third straight regular season MAC championship has yet to be done.
Ball State will travel to Bowling Green on Friday with a 7 p.m. kickoff, followed by a 1 p.m. kickoff at Toledo on Sunday.