Friday afternoon the Lady Bisons lose 4-0 to Ball State in Muncie, Ind., but coach Jon Ireland thought it provided his team with some good preparation.
“Ball State is a very good team,” said Ireland. “They are the most athletic and most talented team we have played all year. They had a lot of size and speed.
“This was a great game for us. What we need at this point is to play really, really good competition to get us ready to play Campbell next week. Our season starts at Campbell. It doesn’t matter what our record is going into conference play.”
Ireland started eight freshmen against Ball State. The freshmen class is going to be the nucleus of a strong program for the Lady Bisons, but the Ball State loss showed how severe the growing pains are at this stage of the season.
“We did some good things, but we are going to have a lot of ups and downs,” said Ireland. “When you are playing that many freshmen you are going to have some problems.
“They will do some good things and some really stupid things. I knew it was going to be this way. We will have to deal with it and do the best that we can.”
The Lady Bisons gave up only one goal in the first 45 minutes of the game. But Ball State’s offense was able to add three in the second half, one off of a corner kick.
“We hung in there in the first half, but we made some really bad mental errors that led to four goals,” said Ireland. “We played everybody on the team.
“We started off the second half playing well, but they got a goal here and a goal there. All the goals were from youthful mistakes.”
Ally Marler started in goal and gave up one goal and made one assists. Erin Zerio was in net in the second half. She made eight saves, a season-high, and allowed three goals.
The Lady Bisons were held to only two shots, one by Katie Wood and one by Kirsten Heikkinen.
Ball State was credited with 23 shots.
Both the Lady Bisons and Ball State are 2-5-0.
The Lady Bisons are in Indianapolis Sunday afternoon to face IUPUI at 1.
“IUPUI is very, very strong and very good at home,” said Ireland. “They may be more talented than Ball State. This will be another good test.”