SOCCER: Ball State plays two winless teams over weekend

After dropping its first match of the season, Ball State’s soccer team is priming itself for two winnable games this weekend. Ball State (2-1) will take on Eastern Illinois on Friday and Tennessee Tech on Sunday, both of which tout 0-4 records on the year.

On paper, Ball State should have no trouble beating an Eastern Illinois team that has one goal this season and a Tennessee Tech team that has not had a winning season since 2004.

The Cardinals dominated their first two games and controlled about 70 minutes of the match they dropped to IPFW, which makes head coach Craig Roberts more concerned about what his players are doing rather than anyone else.

“We’re not necessarily focused on either of the two teams,” Roberts said. “We’re focused on what we need to correct to make our team stronger.”

The key for Ball State this week is finishing. In its loss to IPFW, Ball State racked up 19 shots, all of which could not find the back of the net.

In each of their three games, the Cardinals have looked imposing until they reach scoring chances. There have been about a dozen times already this season when a seamless buildup has been foiled by a bad strike.  

For the first two games, the Cardinals were able to overcome the problem and tuck a few away; but after being shutout with a season-high in shots, Roberts recognizes the problem. 

“[The loss] may have been a blessing in disguise,” Roberts said. “Nobody likes losing, and it exposed us in some areas we need work.”

Along with working on specific goal-scoring situations, Roberts said he wanted his team to develop a “goal-scoring mentality.” 

Roberts said he is also looking for his team to recognize opportunities to switch the field and swing the ball to the weak side to catch the defenses sleeping on backside help.

He doesn’t know yet if there will be a change in the starting lineup or rotations, and that is something he won’t decide until he absolutely has to, which is sometimes during warm-ups on game day. 

Roberts said it doesn’t take a loss for his team to focus on seemingly lesser opponents.

“We treat every opponent that comes in with the utmost respect,” Roberts said. “It may be that these two teams may be beginning to blossom coming into our week.”  


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