MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State soccer team is 3-1 in Mid-American Conference play and will get its shot this weekend at the only two teams with better league records.
The Cardinals, which own the best overall record among MAC teams at 8-3-1, travel to face Eastern Michigan at 4 p.m. Friday and Western Michigan at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Both of those teams are a perfect 4-0 through two weekends of conference play, and they sit directly in front of Ball State in the MAC West Division standings.
Ball State split two games at home last weekend, seeing its four-game unbeaten streak snapped with a 1-0 loss to Kent State before rebounding for a 2-1 win over Ohio. Leah Mattingly and Michelle Blok scored within the first seven minutes in the victory over the Bobcats. It was the team’s eighth win of the season, already matching its total from a year ago.
The Cardinals continue to rank among the top teams in the country defensively, checking in at No. 7 in this week’s NCAA statistics in save percentage (.889) and No. 16 in goals against average (.555). Layne Schramm and Brooke Dennis, who have split time equally between the posts, rank as the top two goalkeepers in the MAC statistically.
The stout Ball State defense will square off this weekend against the two highest scoring teams in the league, first taking on an Eastern Michigan team that has scored 30 goals in its 12 games.
The Eagles (7-4-1 overall) enter Friday’s matchup riding a six-game winning streak. All four of Eastern Michigan’s losses have come against Big Ten teams, including overtime losses to ranked opponents Ohio State and Michigan. Three different Eagles have scored at least five goals on the year and rank among the top 10 in the MAC in scoring: Cara Cutaia (7), Angela Vultaggio (6) and Bianca Rossi (5).
Ball State is 6-6-2 all-time against Eastern Michigan and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Eagles with a 1-0 win in last year’s meeting in Muncie. The Cardinals own a 3-3-1 record in the series in Ypsilanti.
Western Michigan (6-3-2 overall) is unbeaten in its past six games entering the weekend and will host Miami University on Friday in Kalamazoo before Ball State visits. Like Eastern Michigan, the Broncos are averaging better than two goals per game.
Six different Western Michigan players have scored at least three goals, led by Gina Maddi with four. Defensively, the Broncos are tied with Ball State for the most shutouts in the league with six.
The Cardinals are 6-8-3 in the all-time series against Western Michigan, including a 2-5-1 mark on the road. The teams played to a scoreless draw a year ago in Muncie.