By Parker Webster & Jovanni Alcantar
Ball State Sports Link
The beginning of Mid-American Conference play will all start at Briner Sports Complex as the Ball State Cardinals host the Eastern Michigan Eagles on September 23rd.
Two teams, neither of which expected to be below the .500 mark before conference play, look to get off to a fresh start in this one. Ball State, the defending 2020 MAC West Division Champions, host the team they defeated back in April of this year in a very close 2-1 game.
“It’s gonna be a slug fest,” Head Coach Josh Rife said.
The Cardinals swept the Eagles last year in their two matchups, including the division championship. In 2019, when these two teams matched up in the MAC Tournament, Eastern Michigan pulled off the upset as the seventh seed (2-1).
That was Eastern Michigan’s first win against Ball State since 2014. Ball State leads the all-time series with a 14-8-2 record against the Eagles.
Ball State will look to lean on their experienced attacker, senior Tatiana Mason, to provide a spark upfront. She has yet to find the back of the net this year, but she has been a key part of the Ball State attack since her freshman year, when she was the 2018 MAC Freshman of the Year.
So far this year, she has recorded an assist and has taken 13 shots with three being on goal. She is also currently tied with Nicky Potts for the most career goals among active players on Ball State’s roster.
Mason has shown throughout her career at Ball State that she can not only finish, but she can also create opportunities for her teammates. Expect to hear her name a lot throughout conference play.
Eastern Michigan will rely heavily on senior defender Haley Tausend to try and lead their backline, which has struggled coming into conference play. Eastern Michigan has conceded 14 goals through only seven games this season.
If Eastern Michigan wants to find success against Ball State, they will have to do a much better job defensively and create more opportunities with their young dynamic attack.
Kickoff is at 4 pm at Briner Sports Complex, and fans can listen in. Just go to the @bsusportslink Twitter and Facebook pages to tune in to SL Digital Radio with Parker Webster and Jovanni Alcantar on the call.