Senior Julia Sbircea hits a backhand during her doubles match against IUPUI on Feb. 19, 2017. Emma Rogers, DN File
Ball State women's tennis looks to advance to MAC Tournament
Ball State women's tennis is seeking a Mid-American Conference Tournament bid in this weekend's play.
While recent warm weather is a plus right now, it can be an uncertainty for athletic teams, like the women's tennis team. With the predicted forecast, the team may get pushed indoors.
“We were outside [Wednesday] but not today, and the match might not meet the weather rule due to the wind,” head coach Max Norris said. “But we’ll be ready for whatever.”
In this week’s practices, Norris prepared his team for either situation and used practice to keep his team in a competitive mindset as the season is quickly coming to a close.
“We practiced outside [Wednesday], and practiced hitting balls in the wind and things like that, and then we practiced inside today, so we were really trying to prepare to play indoors or outdoors,” Norris said. “We were focusing a lot on competing. This time of year its easy to, whether you’re winning or losing, get a little mentally tired and I wanted us to stay sharp.”
Along with maintaining a competitive edge, he addressed some of the teams struggles that he feels can help this team notch its first conference win this season.
“I wanted us to keep fighting through some of the things that we’re struggling with and I didn’t want us to shy away, I wanted us to be ready," Norris said. "We also worked a lot on just consistency stuff, just hitting a lot of balls and rallying, especially in singles … when you’re struggling you can forget those things and try to hurry yourself out of it or rush.”
Looking at the season as a whole, Norris doesn’t want to live in the past and think about matches that could’ve gone differently, but rather look forward with optimism and attack the end of this season with a winning mindset.
“I think we’ve been uncharacteristic for things that we’re used to in this program, and that’s part of being a program," Norris said. "Not every match is going to be great, but we’re excited to focus on those things and we’re just going to keep working and eventually, we’re going to see a lot of these teams again that we didn’t have a great match with. The teams we have on our schedule ... we’re going to make it a goal to compete against them and be ready for whatever comes our way the next time around.”
Ball State hosts Western Michigan on Friday, a team who is 11-9 with a 2-2 mark in the MAC. However, only three of those wins have happened on the road, which Norris sees just as a comfort issue.
“In our sport it’s not something that’s that big of a deal … some players do play better at home even though it’s not because of the fans, but it’s just their comfort zone," Norris said.
Following that match, Ball State will stay home and host Northern Illinois on Sunday. The Huskies are in last place in the MAC, with a 5-15 record, 0-6 in MAC play. Although the Huskies sit at the bottom of the standings, Norris feels that the game plan won’t change much from match to match.
“I think for both teams, we know that if we want the opportunity to play in the MAC tournament, we’ve got to play well and we’ve got to be focused and let the results speak for themselves … I just really want to worry about ourselves this week," Norris said.
First serve for both matches will be at 1 p.m. with the location being dependent on the weather.