With just two upperclassmen on the roster, the Ball State field hockey team will need all the practice it can get. The team had its first game-like experience Sunday afternoon in a scrimmage against Bellarmine University.

"It was another day of practice for us," coach Beth Maddox said. "It was an opportunity to work on things."

With such a small, young team this year, Maddox said many freshmen will get a lot of playing time in 2012.

One such freshman is Cameron Daniels, a backfielder for the Cardinals.

"I was a little nervous, playing with all the other girls," Daniels said. "But we got out there, and I felt more comfortable because we were all communicating and made each other feel like a team. It was a good learning experience."

Daniels played the entire scrimmage, admitting that she felt a little tired afterward. However, she thought that as the season went on, the team's conditioning would improve.

In most seasons, a freshman wouldn't play through an entire scrimmage. But as Maddox knows, this is not a normal season. She used the practice to help determine playing time for 2012.

"With not a lot of subs, we're going to be able to play everybody quite a bit," Maddox said. "We're just trying to figure out who's naturally going to fit better where. That's what today was about. I think [assistant coach] Gretchen [Lulow] and I have a better idea of who meshes well and who really clicks - that's what today was about, too. I think we got a better understanding of playing time and what's going to happen and how we're going to do it."

The scrimmage didn't count in the standings, but Saturday's game at Lehigh will. The team travels to Bethlehem, Pa., for its first real challenge of the season.