The Ball State soccer team started their season off with a double-header on March 19 at the Briner Sports Complex. Ball State won both matches against Spring Arbor, 3-0, and Tiffin University 5-0. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
Ball State to play spring game at Notre Dame
Ball State’s soccer team will travel to Notre Dame April 15 to play its fourth spring game of 2016.
Head coach Craig Roberts said Notre Dame, who made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, will be a greater challenge to the Cardinals than the lower-division schools they have played so far.
“Over the spring season, we wanted to have a combination of different teams coming from different levels of play, so obviously Notre Dame is going to be a higher ranked team,” Roberts said. “I felt that they could test us."
Soccer spring schedule
March 19 - Spring Arbor (NAIA national chamipion), 3-0 Ball State win
March 19 - Tiffin (NCAA Division-II), 5-0 Ball State win
April 2 - at Indiana State, 1-1 draw
April 15 at Notre Dame
April 18 - Alumni game
April 24 - Haiti national team
Even though the Fighting Irish are the latest high-level competition for Ball State’s soccer program, Roberts said the Cardinals won't be intimidated.
"We obviously have a lot of respect for Notre Dame in regard of their athletic programs and their women’s soccer program, [but] we’re not necessarily going to go into the game in awe of a name or who they are or what they are ranked,” he said.
After finishing 14-3-3 (10-1 MAC) — breaking the school record for conference wins and winning the Mid-American Conference regular season title last season — the Cardinals were knocked out of the MAC Tournament in the first round.
Roberts said Ball State's goal for 2016 is to win the MAC Tournament. If the Cardinals achieve that goal, he said, they could play a team like Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament.
"I want to make sure the players are going to be prepared for that and that they’ll have met them before, and obviously we’ll be able to take on the task of competing and potentially beating that team,” he said.
Roberts said the Cardinals’ offense will play a big role in the match April 15, as well as next season. Sophomore Abbie Boswell returns after leading the team with 10 goals and 41 shots on goal last season, but Notre Dame only allowed 11 goals in 20 games last season.
The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Notre Dame's men's soccer practice field.
Two days later, the Cardinals will play against Ball State alumni.