Field hockey faces two ranked teams over weekend

This weekend, Ball State's No. 24 field hockey team has a chance to increase its rank as it plays two Top 20 teams on the road.

The Cardinals start the weekend Saturday at Central Michigan. They will try to avenge their 3-1 loss to the Chippewas in their first MAC game of the season, Sept. 28.

"We need to play at a higher tempo than what we did last time," head coach Jen Halliday said. "We need to come out ready from the get-go."

Central Michigan is 10-4 overall and 4-1 in the MAC. They're first in the conference and ranked 20th nationally. The Chippewa's high ranking coupled with the previous win over the Cardinals could intimidate Ball State, but Halliday said the team feels no pressure.

"My kids are hungry to get out and beat them," Halliday said.

The Cardinals' second game comes Sunday at No. 5 Michigan State. It will be the team's fifth game against the Big Ten this season. It has gone 3-1, losing only to defending national champions Michigan.

Halliday said teams from the Big Ten tend to be more physical and fast than MAC teams, but feels the Michigan game prepared the Cardinals well for other Big Ten teams.

"We match up better with Michigan State (than we did with Michigan)," Halliday said. "They're not as fast or disciplined as Michigan."

Playing ranked teams is always difficult, but playing them on the road can be even tougher. While Halliday acknowledges home-field advantage, she said being the road team can work in the Cardinals' favor.

"Sometimes home teams come out over-confident," Halliday said. "We shouldn't be intimidated."

One thing Halliday wants the team to accomplish this weekend, and throughout the rest of the season, is consistency.

The past two weekends, the Cardinals have played poorly the first day, then rebounded to beat top-ten teams the second day (No. 9 Louisville and No. 7 Kent State).

"We're striving for consistency in the MAC," Halliday said. "The MAC is so dog-eat-dog this year that anyone has an opportunity to come out and win. Every game we'll face different scenarios that will arise in the MAC tournament."332-¿*+â-à{+â-ä{+â-ä{+â-äz+â-à*V+â-ä+â-++â-à+â-ä{+â-ä*+â-à{z+â-à+â-ä+â-àz+â-à{-º+â-àz+â-àmxV*z+â-à*+â-ä{*+â-ä{+â-ä*+â-à{+â-ä+â-à*{-º+â-à*+â-ä{*+â-à+â-ä{*\+â-++â-ä+â-à+â-àz+â-àzVO+^I^$+^I^OOVz**+â-ä{*+â-à+â-ä*+â-à{*+â-ä+â-à***+â-ä+â-++â-à+â-à*+â-à-º+â-à{-º+â-à*{+â-ä-+*+â-ä{*+â-à+â-à+â-ä*+â-à*{+â-à+â-à*+â-ä{+â-ä-+:****+â-à*+â-à*+â-à+â-í+â-++â-í+â-++â-í{*+â-à*+â-í{'*-++â-ì'-¿-¦'*+â-à{*+â-í***VzzVz-»VyWz2-¿-+*+â-à*-+/'--'-¦Ifield hockey 10.18.02 DNEditorial332-+-+P8+â-Å2AUDT

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