Ball State Soccer finished the Spring Cup finals with a 2-0 loss to Kentucky April 9. Head coach Josh Rife said the Cardinals produced opportunities offensively but failed to match the Wildcats' competitiveness after falling behind 1-0.
“It was a good day overall,” head coach Josh Rife said. “I thought we created some really good chances in front of the goal. I also thought that we had some really good stretches where we controlled the tempo. On the flip side, the biggest area we need to get better at is our response to giving up goals. We stopped competing for a bit after the first goal and that led to the second. That was the most disappointing part of the day.”
The Cardinals were originally scheduled to play Cincinnati while the Wildcats would play Louisville. However, in a tweet from the Spring Cup April 9, the Bearcats and Cardinals were unable to compete due to “unfortunate circumstances." Rife said Ball State didn't complain and adjusted quickly despite not preparing for Kentucky.
“You always feel better when you have time to prepare for an opponent, but it’s part of anything in life,” Rife said. “The unexpected can happen. I think our ladies responded well. Obviously, playing an opponent like UK is exciting for our players, so I think it didn’t throw them off much.”
Ball State finished the Spring Cup 1-2, losing to Louisville 3-1 Feb. 26 and beating Dayton March 26 in penalty kicks after a 2-2 tie. Rife said he enjoyed the opportunity Ball State had to play against different competition.
“I think it’s such a great opportunity,” Rife said. “We ended up having a top 10 non-conference schedule last year and this upcoming year might not be the same, but will be similarly challenging, so the Spring Cup has been amazing in terms of preparation for the fall.”
The Cardinals finish their season at Notre Dame April 22 at 6:30 p.m. Rife said the Fighting Irish will be a great test to end the season.
“We will finish with arguably our toughest opponent,” Rife said. “I think the game will test our patience as a group. If we can manage that aspect of the game, then hopefully we will create enough opportunities for ourselves to get a good result.”
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