Sophomore Audrey Berger hits a backhand during her match against IUPUI on Feb. 19. The Cardinals rank 8-2 overall. Emma Rogers // DN File
Ball State women's tennis 8-2 on the season
Ball State women's tennis started its season with a 7-0 loss at North Carolina. Now, two months later, the Cardinals' record of 8-2 shows how they didn’t let the opening day defeat get to them.
“It’s interesting how fast it’s gone, that’s for sure,” head coach Max Norris said. “I think we have a lot of things to be proud and happy about. Compared to years past, we are handling our business a little more firmly. I still think we have a lot of room to grow and I’m sure the team feels the same way.”
Sophomore Audrey Berger shared similar views.
“In the beginning, I wouldn’t say that I was worried but something felt a little off because, although we were winning and beating teams pretty well, it wasn’t the same power we had last year,” Berger said. “But I think we picked it up a little bit and we had a couple matches where we had bad doubles points and that was very uncharacteristic of us as a team. Lately, we’ve been picking it up both in practice and in matches and we’re on a good path to continuing that success."
The 5-2 victory over Youngstown State certainly showed they remain on that path to success. Berger won her doubles with Julia Sbircea before winning her own singles at a fast rate, beating the Penguins’ Imaan Hassim 6-1 6-1 in just over 30 minutes.
“I was in the zone I guess," Berger said. "I was hitting the ball well and I was feeling good. I mean, I just wanted to get this win.”
Norris said it’s hard to judge performances given that they play different teams every week, but he was especially impressed this week by those who went on to lose matches. Both Carmen Blanco and Isabelle Dohanics lost, but Norris said it was valuable experience for them both.
Rosa Calderon and Rebecca Herrington lost their doubles match 6-4. The pair were down 5-2 but played well to make the score line look more respectable against powerful opposition.
“They were getting pushed around a lot," Norris said. "They were getting bullied. You could see that Rosa never stopped trying and Rosa never stopped going for her shots. And Becca even picked up her level. She picked up her physicality."
The Cardinals travel to Tennessee next weekend to play two matches. Although most people will be relaxing in the sun for Spring Break, the team has other priorities. Some players will be away with family, but a handful will be staying in Muncie.
When talking about their Spring Break plans, a common theme appeared: the players all had their minds on keeping the momentum going into conference season. There will be some well-deserved lounging around but for the most part, keeping on top of things so that they’re ready for the final stretch of the season is the only thing they truly care about.
“It’s a good halfway point for our team in general," Norris said. "They’re going to get some days off to rest and recover mentally and physically so I think it’ll be good for them to have that time off."
The coach himself will be making the most of the holidays too. After work early in the week, Norris will be catching up on some sleep and TV with hopes of visiting his family too, before the final sprint to the MAC in April commences.