Cardinals begin year with win over Indiana, loss to Michigan

Team loses to defending national champions Sunday.

The Ball State field hockey team opened its season last weekend by splitting a pair of games against two of the Big Ten's best teams.

The Cardinals beat Indiana 3-0 Friday, avenging a lost last season. The team then lost 5-1 to defending national champion Michigan on Sunday. Despite the loss, head coach Jen Halliday said she was pleased with what she saw from her team over the weekend.

"This was a great weekend to start the season with," Halliday said. "We built our confidence and saw what we're capable of. There were a lot of positives against Michigan."

Among the positives Halliday saw was the team's mental concentration, something she stressed in the off-season. Also, the Cardinals scored first in both games and kept their intensity up until the end, according to Halliday.

Heading into the match with Michigan, Halliday said the key was containing the Wolverines' speed. While Halliday was pleased with the team's play, she said the Wolverines were just too quick to contain the entire game.

"Michigan stayed at the same level, the same speed, the entire game," Halliday said. "Anytime a team can do that, weaknesses in the (defensive) system are going to be exploited."

Against Indiana, Halliday said the Cardinals' depth and experience were keys to their victory. Ball State plays Indiana again September 21 at home.

"We've got a little rivalry kindling with Indiana," Halliday said.

Though the team played a good mental game, Halliday said she would like to see the players focus more and eliminate all mental lapses on the field.

"We need to take personal responsibility to concentrate to keep whole unit together," Halliday said. "One mental lapse bring down four or five people. If we can tighten that up, we're set for a good season."

Halliday said consistency will also be a focus for the team.

"Though the course of the weekend, everyone had their moments when we saw their potential," Halliday said. "We just need to be more consistent throughout (the game)."

The Cardinals continue their stretch of games against the Big Ten on September 18 against Northwestern at home. That starts a five-game, ten-day home-stand for the team.

Halliday said the team will work on defensive transition, passing and speed of execution in preparing for Northwestern.


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