It’s been anything but a cakewalk for Ball State this season. A group of just seven seniors leaves a gaping hole of inexperience. And this season’s schedule has plagued the Cardinals, who enter today’s non-conference contest versus No. 20 Ohio State with a 1-7 mark.
Just how difficult has this roller coaster of a season been for second-year coach Beth Maddox and her gang?
For starters, they’ve squared off against against four Big Ten opponents, including 9th-ranked Boston (7-2), 13th-ranked Indiana (7-2) and 14th-ranked Michigan (7-3). Making matters worse, the Cardinals will also face 12th-ranked Iowa (8-2) later this month.
Despite the brutal schedule and youth, the Cardinals haven’t given up on the season. A 3-0 triumph over Mid-American Conference rival Ohio gave the Cardinals their first win of the season. Eight of the Cardinals final 10 regular season games are against MAC opponents, which favors them.
For now, the Cardinals will have their hands full with the Buckeyes, who bring a high-powered offense. Four Ohio State players have tallied 20 or more shots through the first 10 games. As a whole, the Buckeyes have fired off 141 shots, netted 17 goals and 83 of those have been on goal. The team’s .121 shot percentage is rather low, but the Buckeyes are averaging over 14 shots per game.
It will most certainly be a challenge for Maddox and her squad, but the veteran coach is optimistic.
“If we connect and support each other, then we will have a fighting chance,” Maddox said.