Ball State soccer prepares to defend MAC title after key departures

A Ball State soccer player attempts to keep the all away from her opponent in the match against Buffalo on Oct. 25 at the Briner Sports Complex. DN PHOTO ALLYE CLAYTON
A Ball State soccer player attempts to keep the all away from her opponent in the match against Buffalo on Oct. 25 at the Briner Sports Complex. DN PHOTO ALLYE CLAYTON

New Players

Peighton Cook:   Midfielder - Greendale, IN

Julia Elvbo:   Midfielder - Lit, Sweden

Kenzi Gooley:   Forward - Milford, OH

Sam Kambol:   Forward - South Bend, IN

Monica Padilla:   Midfielder - Valladolid, Spain

Yela Ziswiler:   Defense - Spiez, Switzerland

Jordan Edouard:   Defense - Fort Lauderdale, FL (Transfer from Coastal Carolina)

Paul Guerrero:   Midfielder - Valencia, Spain (Transfer from Universidad de Valencia)

Allison Abbe:   Midfielder/Forward - Plainfield, IN (Transfer from Cincinnati)

Tristin Stuteville:   Goalkeeper - Kansas City, MO (Transfer from Saint Louis)

Head coach Craig Roberts said Cardinals are ready to move forward after the 2015 season ended on a sour note when the team fell to Akron in the first round of the MAC tournament in penalty kicks.

“Each year, we’ve always looked at things that we can tweak, to change, to make ourselves better, to make our program better," said Roberts, now going into his seventh season at Ball State. "That’s something we’re going to do this year. We want to make sure that we get even more disciplined, even more desire, to make it happen for this year.”

The team also lost its two leading scorers and assist leader with the transfer of Abigail Boswell (10 goals) to the University of Alabama and graduation of Chelsy Swackhammer (nine goals) and Lauren Hall (five assists). Roberts, however, said the Cardinals are already adjusting well.

“We lost Abbie Boswell, but, at the same time we, don’t build our team on one individual,” Roberts said. “We build it on a team unit, and I think that the group we’ve had come in for this year will replace that immediately. We’ve already had one individual that’s started to do that as a freshman with Sam Kambol coming in and already scoring two goals.”

The new additions have already accounted for four of the seven goals scored this year. Along with those two goals from Kambol, midfielders Monica Padilla and Julia Elvbo have each scored one, as well.            

There is still some experience from last year’s team. Key returners include junior starting goalkeeper Alyssa Heintschel and senior defender Leah Mattingly, who was first-team All-MAC last season. More importantly, said Roberts, they have been working well with the younger players.

“We’re delighted the way the team has come together,” Roberts said. “I think the pieces that have come in this year are going to be very instrumental, and they’re meshing very well with the returners. The chemistry is probably the best it has ever been.”

The talent of this year’s recruiting class helped convince the other coaches in the MAC that the Cardinals are still the favorites to win the MAC West — after all, they picked Ball State to win the division in the MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Ball State had the most first place votes of any team in either division, earning 11 of the possible 12 votes. The leading vote-getters in the MAC East were Kent State and Miami who tied with five first place votes.

“We’re very humble about [the prediction],” Roberts said. “Although we’re flattered with the accolade that’s been given to us, it’s something we’re just going to take one game at a time.”

Ball State soccer continues its season at 5 p.m. Aug. 26 against Xavier at the Briner Sports Complex.


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