Ball State Soccer finds identity, growth through spring season
It’s been 160 days since Ball State Soccer ended its 2018 season with a 1-1 loss (5-4 in penalty kicks) to Bowling Green to end the MAC tournament. However, the team has been back in action since February, playing five games as part of its annual spring season.
The Cardinals concluded their Spring season Saturday with a 7-0 victory over Indiana Tech. Freshman midfielder Tatiana Mason and junior forward Sam Kambol scored two goals in the first half to put the Cardinals up 2-0. Ball State went on to score five unanswered goals in the second half for the victory.
Head coach Craig Roberts said the win not only marked a successful conclusion to the team’s spring season, but served as a reflection on how far his team has grown since the end of last season.
“I was pleased with the girls’ mentality and how they pursued the game,” Roberts said. “Today’s game gave us the option to try out new people in new positions. We had Shelby Kean, who normally plays defense, play on top.”
Although the Cardinals don't begin their regular season until August, Roberts said the spring season holds tremendous meaning for the team. From a coaching perspective, he said it gives him a preview of where the team has developed.
“I think we’ve become versatile and have really developed our game,” Roberts said. “We’ve been attacking down the middle and on the outside.”
Kambol said the spring season is a way for her to loosen up and have fun while also maintaining a competitive balance.
“From the beginning of the spring to now, we’ve really grown in unity and togetherness,” Kambol said. “Our coaches incorporate fun activities during practices, and we have point systems that get us to have some fun. It’s really not hard to have fun with this great group of girls we have.”
In her 2018 season, Kambol scored only one goal in a 3-2 overtime win over Miami on Oct. 25. However, with two goals in Saturday’s shutout, Kambol said she’s ready for a fresh start and wants to become a leader going forward.
“We have to keep in mind that the spring is for a bigger purpose, and the bigger purpose is preparing for the MAC in the fall,” Kambol said. “I want to make myself as valuable as I can for my team, whether that’s finishing a goal or making the right pass.”
With Saturday’s win, the Cardinals ended the Spring season with a record of 4-1. Ball State was victorious against Eastern Kentucky, Grace College, Indiana State and Indiana Tech, but fell to Eastern Illinois.
“I’m really pleased with how unified the team is,” Roberts said. “Our team chemistry is very strong, and the desire to work together is excellent.”