Senior Carmen Blanco hits a forehand shot during her singles match against Wright State on Feb. 5. The Cardinals are 5-2 on the season and will compete against Evansville on Feb. 18 and against IUPUI on Feb. 19. Emma Rogers // DN File
PREVIEW: Ball State women's tennis vs. Evansville, IUPUI
Ball State women's tennis coach Max Norris repeated the same phrase, give or take a few variations, to sum up the team's attitude heading into their two matches this weekend.
“Excited to move forward,” he said.
The Cardinals are 5-2 on the season, and both losses were on the road. Last weekend, they lost 6-1 at Cincinnati.
“I did a very poor job of preparing us and just preparing the team, physically, mentally and I think it showed," Norris said. "For us, it was a very disappointing match because of that."
Sophomore Audrey Berger was the only Cardinal to win a match against the Bearcats, but Norris said the experience they took away from Cincinnati was important for the future.
“I’m excited to move forward from here," he said. "Every season I’ve been here, we’ve lost hard matches, we’ve won hard matches and that’s part of it. When you lose, you’ve got to find a way to move on and find a way to improve from it.”
Saturday, Ball State takes on Evansville (1-3). The Cardinals have fared well against the Purple Aces, winning their meetings in the last two seasons; however, Norris said the Purple Aces are “much improved from what they’ve been in the past.”
Although Norris doesn’t know what was going through his players’ minds, the difference in results between Wright State, who Ball State beat 5-2 on Feb. 5, and Cincinnati was stark. And yet, Cincinnati beat Wright State 4-3 in a close affair.
“It just shows you the power of, if you ascribe this team as good or this team as not good, what can happen to you," Norris said. "I think that we need to really focus on just what are we doing as our team.”
The match against Evansville begins at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, followed by a match against IUPUI at 1 p.m. Sunday. Ball State beat IUPUI (0-9) in each of the last eight seasons.
Both matches are scheduled to be played at the Northwest YMCA, though Norris said Sunday's match could be played on campus at Cardinal Creek Tennis Center depending on weather.