WOMEN'S TENNIS: Cards prepare for tests in final weekend of regular season

BSU travels to Toledo, Eastern Michigan

As students begin to prepare for finals week, the Ball State University women's tennis team is getting ready for some tests of its own.

Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the Cardinals will be competing in two away matches, first taking on the University of Toledo today and Eastern Michigan University on Saturday.

The two matches will close out the regular season for Ball State before the team travels to the Mid-American Conference Championships next weekend. With an overall record of 7-12 and one win in their last eight matches, the Cardinals are determined to pick up a victory.

"Our real important test is to get into the MAC Championships, and I feel like we're really prepared for it," freshman Paola Rodriguez said. "We're mentally prepared to win, and we can beat these teams. Both Toledo and Western Michigan are beatable."

Toledo enters the match with 11-5 record, while Eastern Michigan sits at 7-12, setting up Ball State with an easier pair of matches than last weekend when the team lost to 15-1 University of Akron and 7-7 University at Buffalo.

Ball State also plans to play at full strength in the next two matches after playing without its No. 2 singles player, Georgina Thomson, last weekend.

"[Thomson's] been practicing three of these last four days, so I'm hopeful she'll be able to play," coach Amy Behrman said. "At this point, we're just gonna take it by ear."

Even if Thomson isn't able to play, Behrman said that she knows that the younger players on the team will step up in her place.

"Last weekend, Lauren [Pickrel] and Paola really stepped up and handled the pressure once Georgina went down. I was really proud of them, and if they have to play again, they'll do great."

If there was any added pressure placed on Rodriguez, it didn't intimidate her in the least.

"If one of the persons in the lineup had an injury, we were really prepared for it. We practice that much," Rodriguez said.

Regardless of whether Ball State will come into its next two matches healthy, Behrman knows the team will do anything to succeed.

"Hopefully we can get a ‘W' so we can make it out of the first round. That's been one of their goals since the beginning of the season, so they're prepared to go out and do whatever it takes to win."