Two weeks ago, despite great overall performances, the Ball State women's swimming and diving team lost in close meets to Ohio State and Cincinnati.
Now the chance to avenge previous losses will present itself as the 4-5 Cards will compete in a dual meet against Mid-American Conference rivals Buffalo and Bowling Green, at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Lewellen Aquatics Center.
Ball State is 1-2 in MAC competition thus far.
Saturday's meet will be the first of three dual meets, which head coach Laura Seibold-Caudill said are crucial to the team's chance of having a successful season.
"This meet is next in terms of importance behind the MAC Championships," Seibold-Caudill said. "We are getting close to the end of the season, and now we have gotten much more specific in our training."
Bowling Green (4-2 overall, 0-2 MAC) comes into Saturday's meet on a bittersweet note.
The Falcons won their last dual meet by handily defeating Cleveland State and Niagara. They are winless, however, in conference meets - posting losses against Eastern Michigan and Toledo on Nov. 3, 2001.
Buffalo (3-1, 1-1 MAC) comes in ready to divide and conquer as they are much improved compared to year ago, Seibold-Caudill said.
"After beating both teams last year on the road, we will be psyched and ready to swim against them here at home," senior Kate Willets said.
The breaststroke and individual medley events should be especially competitive come Saturday.
Two of the MAC's stars will face-off in a battle for superiority, as Ball State's Karla Bailey will compete against Buffalo standout Jennefer Brankovsky.
"Bowling Green doesn't look that strong," Seibold-Caudill said. "Buffalo should be quite a challenge, though, because they have improved significantly since we saw them a year ago. We have the depth advantage over both opponents, so we should be the favorite come Saturday."
Freshman breaststroker Brankovsky is the Bulls' top performer this year.
The young standout almost became a Cardinal.
Brankovsky hails from Toronto. She decided to attend the University at Buffalo over Ball State because she wanted to be closer to home.
"Our focus is more on conference meets because we know we will see these teams again at the end of the year," said junior freestyler Joey Duncan. "We are going to come out and be ready to kick some butt on Saturday."