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Ball State soccer 2013 season preview

Can the Cardinals continue to improve in 2013?

Michael Dodge

In three seasons under head coach Craig Roberts, the Ball St. women's soccer team has seen continual improvement. After a second-straight last place finish for the Cardinals in his initial season, Roberts led the them to a fourth place finish in the MAC West in 2011. He followed that up last season by leading Ball St. to a third place finish in the standings, and the team's first winning conference record since 2007. The Cardinals went 8-7-5 (5-3-3 MAC) in 2012, but missed the MAC tournament.

Despite an improved conference record last season the showed signs of struggle. They were eighth in the conference in goals scored, while falling in the middle of the pack in goals allowed. So how will 2013 look for the improving team? With several longtime starters gone, including starting goalkeeper Aubrey Buehler, and defender's Skylar Chew and Brigit Reder, it won't be easy. All told, the team lost seven starters from 2012.

The team does get back two important pieces in defender Victoria Jacobs, and midfielder Maimee Morris. They also return their top two offensive weapons. Nicole Pembleton led the squad with four goals and nine points in 2012 and is just a junior. Fellow forward Jasmine Moses, the team's second leading offensive weapon with three goals and six points, is also only a junior. But still, this team will be full of youth, especially in it's starting ranks, and has some glaring holes defensively.

The team has a tough non-conference schedule that features games at Butler, IPFW, Colorado College. There's also a rough stretch ranging from Sep. 13 to Sep. 29 that sees the team travel from Colorado, to Indianapolis, to Buffalo, N.Y., to Akron. Conference road games against 2012 MAC West leaders Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan won't be easy either. But the Cardinals do get a break with Miami and Kent State (No. 1 and 2 in the MAC East in 2012) at home. If Ball State can up their scoring from last season and find a way to replace the loss of several starters they could see a slight improvement. Otherwise, don't be surprised to see them take a slight step back in 2012 as attrition and a tough schedule take their tole.

Ball State Soccer Schedule
Date Opponent Time
Fri, Aug. 16 @ Butler (Exhibition) 6:30 p.m.
Fri, Aug. 23 vs. Northern Iowa 4:30 p.m.
Sun, Aug. 25 vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay 1:00 p.m.
Fri, Aug. 30 @ IPFW 5:00 p.m.
Fri, Sep. 6 vs. Eastern Illinois 4:30 p.m.
Sun, Sep. 8 vs. Tennessee Tech 1:00 p.m.
Fri, Sep. 13 @ Colorado College 6:00 p.m.
Sun, Sep. 15 @ Air Force 2:00 p.m.
Fri, Sep. 20 @ IUPUI 7:00 p.m.
Fri, Sep. 27 @ Buffalo* 7:30 p.m.
Sen, Sep. 29 @ Akron* 1:00 p.m.
Fri, Oct. 4 vs. Kent State* 4:30 p.m.
Sun, Oct. 6 vs. Ohio* 1:00 p.m.
Fri, Oct. 11 @ EMU* 4:00 p.m.
Sun, Oct. 13 @ WMU* 1:00 p.m.
Fri, Oct. 18 vs. Toledo* 4:30 p.m.
Sun, Oct 20 vs. NIU* 1:00 p.m.
Fri, Oct. 25 @ Bowling Green* 7:00 p.m.
Sun, Oct. 27 @ CMU* 3:00 p.m.
Thu, Oct. 31 vs. Miami* 3:00 p.m.