BY MAX DENARI | BALL STATE SPORTS LINK
Ball State soccer opens up its long awaited Mid-American Conference play this weekend. The Cardinals will host Buffalo on Friday, September 23rd at 5 p.m. and Akron on Sunday, September 25th at 2 p.m.
The Cardinals coming into this weekend with a very solid 5-2-1 record, opposed to Buffalo’s 3-3-2 record and Akron’s 3-5 record.
Ball State head into MAC play averaging 1.88 goals per game, and conceding 1.0 goal(s) per game. In that span they also average 18.1 shots per game, and only allow 10.6 shots per game from their opponents.
These statistics definitely bode well with the Cardinals as a team, having showed class and artistry in both defense and offense last weekend vs. Morehead State.
Buffalo on the other hand average 14.5 shots per game, but also allow 13.9 shots — As well as averaging 1.25 goals per game, and giving up 1.0 goal(s) per game, the same as the Cardinals. The Cardinals matchup evenly in terms of shots allowed, and Buffalo still tends to hold opponents shot count beneath their own.
However, in terms of attacking, Ball State has the advantage (in terms of stats), and tonight they will look to really try to break down Buffalo’s backline with precise and intricate passing.
Leah Mattingly’s presence as not only a fullback, but as an attacking and creative option will be a luxury, as she is one of three players tied for most assists on the team this season. It will be a very interesting game, as the last four meetings between these two teams have been decided in extra time.
Lastly, Akron averages 10.5 shots per game to 12.9 shots per game for their opponents. On the goalscoring end, Akron slots in 1.5 goals per game, and concedes 1.88 goals per game.
With these types of statistics Ball State should most certainly be pressing up in attack against the Zips. The Cardinal defense does, however, need to be aware and prepared for Zips forward Chloe Allen, who has bagged 5 goals so far this season, along with Midfielder Sarah Sivic who has grabbed 3 of her own as well.
The Zips defeated the Cardinals last year in the MAC tournament in penalties, after having lost to the Cardinals during the regular season.
The Cardinals will be looking to grab two big wins to get a great start on their MAC journey this season, as well as looking for Coach Craig Roberts’ 100th win of his career. Come out and support tonight at 5 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Briner Sports Complex.