Leeannda Wood

The Ball State gymnastics team will be joined on the mat at 7 p.m. Friday in Irving Gym by Illinois State. This the first home meet of the season, one of five the team will host.

"The girls are very excited and want revenge after last weekend," coach Nadalie Walsh said.

On Sunday, the Cardinals traveled to Illinois State and lost to the Redbirds, despite finishing first in three events. Julie Cotter placed first on bars with 9.6725, and Aftyn Siemer scored a 9.725, placing first on the floor. Nicole Allen had the highest score of the meet with a 9.8 on the vault.

"This team knows what to do and are ready physically," Walsh said. "They just have to put mind over matter."

For any sports team, staying upbeat can be difficult to do after losing to a team you see in back-to-back weekends. Walsh said she isn't concerned over how her team will respond Friday.

"This team is very positive and close to each other," Walsh said.

The new team saying for the year, "Give ‘em the Bird," is designed to help teammates pick each other up.

"If one of the girls isn't doing something right, the others will say, ‘Cardinals do this, not that,'" Walsh said. "They say that is giving them the bird."

Captains for this season are seniors Julie Cotter, Brittney Emmons, Kayla Kmiecik and MaryAnn Oehlerking.

Walsh said she is looking to both the senior and junior class to provide leadership this season, on and off the mat.

A few underclassmen have also caught the attention of Walsh in the preseason and first meet.

"Angie Hosbach has exceeded my expectations and been ready to go since she came in for the semester," Walsh said.

Walsh mentioned Brooklyn Schumacher as a freshman to keep an eye on.

"Brooklyn can handle anything," Walsh said. "I love watching her compete."

Overall, Walsh said she is looking for consistency and would like scores to be 9.5 or higher.

"A 9.5-9.8 score is where we need to be to be competitive this season," Walsh said.