Senior Carmen Blanco hits the ball to the other side of the court during the match against Buffalo on April 2 at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center. Ball State (20-2, 8-0 MAC) hopes to complete the ultimate back-to-back achievement by winning a consecutive Mid-American Conference tournament to add to their two MAC regular season championships in a row this weekend. Terence K. Lightning Jr. // DN File
Carmen Blanco, Peyton Gollhofer make 2017 women’s tennis All-MAC teams
Senior Carmen Blanco and sophomore Peyton Gollhofer have both made the All-Mid-American Conference teams this year.
After being named 2016 second team All-MAC, Blanco makes the step up to the first team. As for Gollhofer, she goes the other way. She sits in the second team this year following her first team All-MAC inclusion last year.
Blanco, who will be the program’s graduate adviser next season, has led the team from the front. She owned the No. 1 singles spot for the MAC and played in the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles spot throughout.
2017 Women's Tennis All-MAC
First team: Sophia Geier (Akron), Carmen Blanco (Ball State), Adey Osabuohien (Northern Illinois), Tanja Stojanovska (Buffalo), Raven Neely (Northern Illinois) and Anzhelika Shapovalova (Miami).
Second team: Peyton Gollhofer (Ball State), Ariadna Blinova (Akron), Nelli Ponomareva (Miami), Mimi Kendall-Woseley (Toledo), Paula Comella (Bowling Green), Chantal Martinez Blanco (Buffalo).
Head coach Max Norris previously labeled Blanco as “one of the smartest players in the league,” and with a 7-1 MAC singles record at the no.1 spot.
“She’s really classy," Norris said. "She keeps her act together on and off the court. She’s hardworking and takes everything very seriously. You need some people who are like that, and some people who aren’t like that but, her teammates see that maturity in her and I think it’s a very stabilizing factor to the team.”
As for Gollhofer, Norris said “the awards are a little skewed” this year and believes she deserves to be in the first team alongside Blanco. He cited her performances against both Miami and Akron as proof. On both occasions, Gollhofer was the last to finish and won to clinch the match for Ball State under extreme pressure.
“She’s undoubtedly first team all-MAC,” Norris said, “It’s beyond absurd that she’s even considered second team. I think it’s a good accomplishment nonetheless.”
Norris praised her loyalty and commitment to the team, saying she does her job with “a lot of passion and intensity.”
“The players and the team know that they have someone who they can trust," Norris said. "She’s an honest person and they have someone who would definitely be willing to help. I can tell she’s excited to be more of a leader next year as well.”
Despite the awards being about individual achievements, Norris said their team spirit is what really makes them great players to work with.
“Carmen and Peyton, for playing one and two, care more about their team winning, the team winning, more than anybody else in the league," Norris said. "And it’s not even close.”
About the team, Norris said there is no danger of the team being alienated by the achievements of two of its players going into this weekend’s battle for the MAC Tournament.
“I think our team probably took notice of the fact that we went 8-0, and we only had two people on the thing and only one on first team. So, I don’t really have to say much,” Norris said.
Ball State (20-2, 8-0 MAC) plays in the semi-final of the MAC tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday against the winner of Friday’s match between 4-seed Miami (10-11, 5-3 MAC) and 5-seed Northern Illinois (10-12, 4-4 MAC). The tournament final takes place at midday on Sunday.