SOCCER: Draw disappoints Ball State soccer

The Daily News

A tie wasn’t what Ball State soccer head coach Craig Roberts was looking for.

After drawing 1-1 in double overtime with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Friday in the last non-conference game of the season, Ball State’s soccer team is feeling remorse.

“I don’t think we played to our normal standards,” Roberts said. “We possessed better and created chances, but I’m disappointed we couldn’t finish.”

Ball State has struggled capitalizing on opportunities at times. In its two losses and draw this year, the Cardinals made 47 shots with 21 on target, but only goal against IUPUI to show for it.

“We started [the season] well, scoring two and three goals, I know we can do it,” junior forward Nicole Pembleton said. “We just need to really focus on what we’re doing and as always, be confident.”

Ball State is still integrating about a dozen new players into its roster, and Roberts said he thinks the group is still climbing towards an apex near the top of the Mid-American Conference.

“We think we are in the top teams in the MAC, and we aren’t afraid to play anybody,” Roberts said. “This team is young, they are fresh and their futures are bright.”

One that remains unwavering for the Cardinals is their defense. The team has an entirely new back row featuring senior Kelsey Shapiro — who has played in every 760 minutes, including two double overtime games — and a dual goalkeeper system that Roberts said is the best goal keeping he’s seen in his four years with the program. The defense leads Ball State in the MAC in goals against average and shutouts.

Ball State has rotated starting two keepers this season. Senior Layne Schramm and freshman Brooke Dennis have started and finished four games each.

In a tight intrasquad position battle, the two have brought out the best in each other. Schramm is No. 1 and Dennis is No. 2 in save percentage in the conference. Dennis also has won a MAC Defensive Player of the Week and Schramm touts the conference’s best goals against average.

If chances start finding the net with regularity, a 5-2-1 non-conference record might just be the beginning.

“I think the whole team is ready and, ‘Okay, let’s go, it’s MAC time. Let’s show everyone what we’ve got,’” Pembleton said. “We have really strong team this year, and I honestly think we can be No. 1.”


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