Ball State women’s tennis experience highs, lows over weekend
Despite winning both matches over the weekend, the Ball State women’s tennis team had two very different days.
On Feb. 4, Ball State handled Illinois State, defeating them 6-1.
In the doubles, there were standout performances from the the pairing of senior Rosalinda Calderon and freshman Rebecca Herrington, beating Illinois State freshmen Jana Kustkova and Gabriela Spraclue 6-4.
Rosa revealed that she had been working on her baseline play this week and it showed. Becca’s ace at 4-4 was noteworthy before she went on to hit the winning shot for the relatively new pair.
“We usually change partners but we have been practicing a lot together so I think we complement each other well,” Rosa said.
The same goes for sophomore Isabelle Dohanics, who also played well on Saturday. After some challenge at the beginning, Dohanics won her singles in straight sets (6-1 6-2) against the Redbird’s Kustkova. This came after Isabelle’s doubles victory with her partner junior Julia Sbircea. The pair couldn’t have wished for a better match.Their opponents were firmly planted on the baseline with hardly any attempts to come to the net throughout their 6-3 defeat to the Cardinals.
“It’s just a little different because that means our net player has to be a little more active but besides that, it means they’re on defense and they’re not comfortable so it’s good for us.” Isabelle told us.
Seventeen hours later, it was a different story.
Dohanics didn’t play in the doubles but she was given a serious test in the form of Wright State University’s Taylor Culbertson. Coach Max Norris was impressed with the victory in the end but Dohancis had to work for it.
The first set was a tight tussle with momentum switching constantly between the two players. Dohanics though came out on top to win 7-5.
The second set was a comeback story. She was down 1-4 before knuckling down and finding a way to win five straight games in a row to beat her opponent in straight sets 7-5, 6-4.
Her comeback is what Norris admired the most and he felt as though this exemplified what the team is all about.
“They know winning and losing are important but they’re not the barometer of 'did you do something right?'" Norris said. "You could see with your own eyes that we won the match but they know they could have done a lot better in the doubles. So, that was good for me to see.”
Calderon also only played one match, but for her it was the doubles. Despite glimpses of her baseline form from Saturday, it wasn’t enough to stop her and sophomore Peyton Gollhofer from losing 6-2 on court 3 to the Raiders’ pairing of Cloem and Morgan.
On Saturday, Gollhofer faced the Raiders Tere-Apisah who defeated her 6-4, 6-2. Norris said Gollhofer didn't seem like she was feeling it.
“She had a very good freshmen year and she helps our identity as a team," Norris said. "I think for Peyton was just having a perspective. [She] could’ve won that match but she’s a very tough match up so don’t beat yourself up so much. I think that was a good experience for her and it just shows how much she cares and how much she wants to win.”
And Sunday wasn’t much better for her. Although the score-line was better for her in the singles, she still couldn’t muster a set win as she fell 6-4, 6-4.
“It was not good on my part but the team played well so that’s all that matter,” Gollhofer said. “I’m really hard on myself because I know I can be at a certain level so when I don’t play exactly how I know I can play, that really gets me off.”
To top it all off, her very own Atlanta Falcons lost the Super Bowl in the most dramatic of fashion. Be sure to never mention this weekend to her next time you see her.
For the rest of team though, the weekend wasn’t quite as dramatic. Becca Herrington won both her singles matches against Wright State and Carmen Blanco and Toni Ormond also both came away with two victories out of two singles, with Audrey Berger also hitting well for the Cardinals.
Up next for Ball State’s women’s tennis team is a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Norris already has plans for training this week.
“Well, we’re definitely going to go back to the drawing board on doubles but also have a talk midweek just about mentality kind of stuff and perspective in terms of before the match and during the match,” he said.