For the second time this season, the Ball State field hockey team will face a top 25 team in No. 13 James Madison. After a close loss last weekend to Indiana, the Cardinals believe they can hang with the best of the best.
“We really learned a lot from the IU game,” Head coach Christy Longacre said. “One thing we learned in particular was just going for it and not being afraid. We don’t want to play on our heels even if we’re up or tied and just continuing to go for it.”
Freshman goalkeeper Grace Chavez looks to keep her momentum from last game going into this match. Chavez recorded a career high seven saves against the Hoosiers on Sunday.
“I thought the game was a lot of fun facing big level shots and I just had to react really fast,” Chavez said. “Last game really prepared me for the games that are coming up since we’re seeing James Madison, Michigan and Northwestern, so the shots should be pretty similar.”
Going into this game, the Cardinals have fell on some uncertainty in the category of penalty corners. Ball State saw their 11-10 penalty corner advantage in its win against Saint Francis disappear in their game against IU. The Cardinals gave up 16 penalty corners against the Hoosiers, and earned just five of their own.
“You never know how the opposition is going to set up or how we’re going to be able to execute the corner that day,” Longacre said. “Everyone just needs to do their part, but this is something that will be different every game."
While penalty corner opportunities have been unpredictable, the Cardinals defensive unit has not been. The defense shut down all 16 of the Hoosiers corner opportunities last weekend and overall has only let three goals by in the last three games.
“I think that were doing really well in the backfield,” Chavez said. “We had a shutout against Saint Francis and only let in two goals against IU. I think that’s really good considering earlier this season the games were a little higher scoring.”
Coming into this game, James Madison is coming off a two game losing streak to No. 2 Duke and No. 7 North Carolina. Those two losses are the only two of the season as the Dukes have knocked off other notable opponents in past ranked Liberty and Old Dominion. The Dukes also defeated MAC team Appalachian State, 4-0.
“If we want to get the upset we need to risk it and not be afraid to attack for 70 minuets,” Longacre said.
Friday's game starts at 3:30 p.m.