A win, and there is still a chance of making the Mid-American Conference tournament for Ohio. A loss, and the season will end Oct. 29 with no tournament appearance for the second straight season.
"It's a MAC game that we need to get a result in," coach Neil Macmillan said.
Ohio's offense has been improving over the last five games with nine goals scored. Scoring from open play has meant different players are scoring, which forces opponents to focus on multiple players that can score instead of one.
“We've started working better together in the attacking 25 creating chances,” Macmillan said about the past week. "We worked the ball around well, we passed it well and created space for ourselves which we then utilized."
Kendall Ballard has been the main offensive threat the whole season, but it has been Maria Russell leading the offense in the past three games, with four of the five goals.
Early in the season Russell was struggling to get opportunities to shoot, but as the offense improved, there have been more opportunities for her in front of goal where she shines.
This is not the first time these two teams faced off. They had an early-season meeting Aug. 27 in which Ohio lost 4-1.
"We're just a completely different team than where we were at the beginning and I think we've got a very, very good chance coming up," Ballard said.
Recently, there has not been much success for the Cardinals, who are on a five-game losing streak.
Penalty corners are not where Ball State succeeds on the offensive or defensive end with 118 given to opponents and only 47 obtained while attacking. Ohio is very good from penalty corner, so it should expect to get plenty of them in the game.
"It's a good day to thank the seniors for their work over the four years, they've done a lot," Macmillan said. "This class, in particular, has been through a lot and continue to work hard."
Correction: A previous version of this report misspelled Neil Macmillan's name. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.