SOCCER: Only the faces change in Ball State’s system and expectations

The Daily News

Ball State soccer coach Craig Roberts believes a model for success has been laid at the Briner Sports Complex — so much so, that even with a roster overturn of double-digit players, he is confident that his team can vie for a Mid-American Conference Championship and continue the success of the program.

“I think the tradition we have been giving the girls over the time we’ve been here has started to set in,” Roberts said. “The girls are more technically sound and experienced, so they have the foundation that we’ve based success upon.”

Beginning his fourth season, Roberts has improved his winning percentage in each of his first three years — from 7-10-2 in 2010 to 8-7-5 in 2012. But after graduating nine, losing one to international-eligibility restrictions and a few transfers, there are several potential question marks going into the 2013 season. 

On offense, Ball State returns its top goal-scorers in junior forwards Nicole Pembleton and Jasmine Moses. But Roberts’ offense is predicated on possession and creativity out of the midfield coupled with off-ball runs — something that will have to be engineered by someone else, as Ball State lost one of its assist leaders when Amanda Dreyfus graduated.

Roberts said certain players have been “sassier” on the ball in the midfield, but that everyone on the team has the ability to work the ball. With that interchange, the chemistry of the girls on the field has been a stress early in the summer.

“So far so good,” Pembleton said, referring the gelling process of the new rotation. “After our last scrimmage, you couldn’t tell who was new, which is good.”

Ball State will see fresh faces along the defense and will attempt to replace defender Skylar Chew in particular, who ranks among Ball State’s all-time leaders in career starts and minutes played, and goalkeeper Aubrey Buehler, who ranks fourth all-time for Ball State in wins, saves and shutouts. 


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