A home meet is always important to the Ball State gymnastics team. This one though, holds additional value.


Ball State is set for its first home meet of the season against Central Michigan at 7 p.m. Friday in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. 


The team is looking to bounce back after a frustrating loss to Iowa on Friday. 


The Cardinals lost both of their meets in 2013. The first defeat was delivered by Florida — one of the nation’s elite teams. 


For Ball State, the highly competitive meet was a good way to open the season. It served as an introduction to a schedule riddled with high-caliber opponents. The team competed at a large venue, against a polished team. They recognized the challenge that Florida presented, and used it as motivation to prepare in the off season. 


The defeat was hardly anticipated, but it was accepted. Ball State head coach Nadalie Walsh said she was impressed with the team’s performance against Florida. So impressed that she believed the team was capable of a win against its second opponent, Iowa. 


Although Iowa is not as dominant as Florida, a win over the Hawkeyes would have been a big confidence booster for the young Ball State team. Instead, a narrow defeat left the team feeling unsatisfied. Iowa won by a score of 193.475 to 193.125. They were well aware they could have won the meet if not for their own mistakes. 


“When we walked away from that meet, the girls were extremely frustrated,” Walsh said. “The girls wasted no time in getting back to work, though. They were able to use that frustration in a positive way. 


“It motivated them a lot when they came in this week, to come in and clean up every little thing. So they can hopefully not give away any tenths on little stuff.” 


If the team hopes to rebound this week against Central Michigan, they will certainly have to clean up the little things. 


“They’ve already posted some big scores as a team; they’ve been in the 194 and 195s,” Walsh said of Central Michigan. “We’re capable of that, so I’m not intimidated by it whatsoever.”


Although coming home has given the team an additional boost of confidence, it is the support of the home crowd that is most important to the Cardinals. 


“They’re our fans, it’s our equipment, it’s our arena,” Walsh said. “Our home crowd knows how to interact with us. The energy should be really good, and the meet could swing our way.“