For the first 15 minutes, it was all the Ball State field hockey team could have hoped for.

But when it rains, it pours.

“At the beginning, we came out really hard,” sophomore forward Allie White said after the team’s scrimmage with Iowa on Thursday. “I was really pleasantly surprised. I thought we were really solid defensively — holding our ground, and not getting too excited, which is kind of unusual for the first game.”

Ball State reported to its first practice of the fall Aug. 13. That left the team nine days to prepare for a strong Iowa opponent.  

With 17 underclassmen on the roster, the Cardinals have been faced with the challenge of becoming cohesive on the field.

Head coach Beth Maddox said her team excelled in that area for having spent just more than a week together at the time of the scrimmage.

“I’m not going to say we weren’t expecting it,” Maddox said. “But I was pleasantly surprised with the calmness and the unity that we had with our group. I was kind of anticipating a little bit more of a jam in our first go.”

Prior to the scrimmage, freshman Colleen McGlynn said her new teammates made her feel welcome both on and off the field.  

“It’s been a big adjustment,” McGlynn said of the jump to collegiate play. “It’s been a great experience so far. It’s definitely a higher level, so that’s harder, but [upperclassmen] have been really helpful with teaching me what I need to know.”

Though Ball State’s opening was strong, production fell later in the match. A rain delay sidelined the teams for close to an hour.

When play resumed, Iowa took control of pace and started to impose its will on Ball State.

“They put the ball where they want it,” White said of Iowa. “And they made us work and they made us move.”   

Though the Cardinals were outdone in more than one way, the area most visibly in need of improvement was defense.

Maddox said a primary focus moving forward will be building unity and learning to play together on both sides of the field. She’s confident that togetherness will develop in time.

“The rain threw a bit of a kink into the flow of things,” Maddox said. “The ideas that we have and the things that we’re going to work on this week to prepare us for next week — we’re ready to go. [The scrimmage] has made me very excited for next week.”