FIELD HOCKEY: Ball State to host Michigan State on Homecoming
Spartans represent fifth Big Ten opponent for Cardinals this season
The Big Ten hasn't been kind to the Ball State field hockey team this season. The Cardinals are 0-4 versus the Big Ten this season, including losses to Indiana, No. 13 Michigan, No. 14 Northwestern and No. 18 Ohio State.
As the Cardinals prepare for this afternoon's matchup versus Michigan State (5-9), they are looking to notch their third overall victory of the season and first over a Big Ten foe.
On paper, the Cardinals have the advantage and are more than capable of coming away with a victory.
Michigan State is the weakest of the four Big Ten teams Ball State has played this season.
The Spartans offense isn't as glamorous or explosive as Michigan, Indiana or Ohio State, which favors the Cardinals. In its first 13 regular season games, the Spartans are scoring less than two goals per game. As a whole, the Spartans have not scored more than three goals in a game this season.
Freshman Abby Barker leads the team in goals with five, points with 11 and shots on goal with 16. Fellow freshman Allie Ahern has recorded a team-high 25 total shots this season.
Red-shirt sophomore goalkeeper Molly Cassidy has struggled for the Spartans this season. Having tallied over 900 minutes in the cage, Cassidy has allowed a combined 33 goals, an average of 3.20 goals per game.
The two teams are identical to one another. Both groups are extremely young. Ball State consists of 10 freshmen, while the Spartans have 13 underclassmen, including four sophomores and nine newcomers on their roster.
It will be vital for the Cardinals to score first as they are 2-1 when scoring first this season.
The offensive core of senior Devanny Kuhn and freshman Sanne Hermans will need to turn in another notable performance in order for the Cardinals to be victorious. The two have combined for nine shots, six shots on goal, two goals and four assists over the past two games for Ball State.
Freshman backfielder and corner insert Laura Malinoski has also emerged as an offensive threat for the Cardinals. Malinoski scored her second-career goal against Miami (OH) on Wednesday. In addition, she also tallied an assist against the RedHawks.
When the two teams square off at noon at the BSU Turf Field, look for the Cardinals to be aggressive on both ends of the field.