Sophomore Audrey Berger serves the ball during the match against Buffalo on April 2 at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center. The Cardinals (16-2, 4-0 MAC) will compete against Eastern Michigan on Friday. Terence K. Lightning Jr. // DN File
PREVIEW: Ball State women's tennis vs. Eastern Michigan, Toledo
Ball State women's tennis (16-2, 4-0 MAC) heads into its two weekend matches feeling good about its chances to repeat last year’s Mid-American Conference success.
“Before we had started MAC season, I knew that we were the team to [win the MAC]," sophomore Audrey Berger said. "I’m going to keep that confidence, and I think the rest of us are too. I mean, we really want another MAC Championship."
The Cardinals are tied at the top of the standings with Akron (20-2, 4-0 MAC).
“I don’t think there’s really any need to say anything to them because a lot of them are wired just like me,” Ball State head coach Max Norris said. “So, it’s like we can say it to each other without even speaking, like, we know what we’re thinking about. I think they know that and they just got to keep it simple to get to that big step.”
With an 11-match win streak on the line, Ball State hosts Eastern Michigan (6-12, 1-3 MAC) at 1 p.m. Friday before traveling to Toledo (8-9, 0-4 MAC) for a match on at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Eastern Michigan last won the regular season title back in 1998, but both Berger and Norris said the Eagles can be unpredictable, which makes them dangerous.
“They’re always a very tricky team," Norris said. "They’ve got a lot of smart and savvy players. You never really know what you’re going to get from them. I know they play really good doubles or they try to play the doubles the right way. So, we’ve just got to come out and worry about ourselves and be aggressive and not worry what they’re going to do.”
Toledo is winless in MAC play, but Norris said the Rockets' non-conference record shows they've perhaps “caught some unlucky breaks."
“I would expect them to play with a lot of energy," Norris said. "I think when there’s nine teams and only six teams make the tournament, just like Eastern Michigan, they’re going to be playing for their tournament life. They’re going to give it everything they have and I wouldn’t expect anything less from anyone else in the same situation.
After this weekend, the Cardinals' only remaining home match will be their last regular season MAC fixture on Saturday, April 22 against Akron.