The Ball State gymnastics team is set to travel to Bowling Green, Ohio for what has shaped up to be a critical match.

Coming off of their first conference loss of the season, the Cardinals hope to bounce back against their upcoming Middle-American Conference foe. Bowling Green is sure to be a challenging opponent, and Ball State will need to win if it hopes to remain in contention for the conference championship.

When asked what it will take to make sure they come out on top,  coach Nadalie Walsh said the team has to ignore the pressure.  

“With our last meet with Western Michigan, we were the better team," Walsh said. "We just put extra pressure on ourselves and didn’t perform as well.”

It was not pressure alone that hurt the team's performance. Freshman Jessica Borton went down with an injury during warm-ups. Borton was set to compete in the team’s opening event that night, the vault. Though vaulting has been a strong point for Ball State this year, it was unable to shake off the injury. The Cardinals went on to post their lowest team score of the season. 

The injury hurt them last week, but Walsh feels that it served an important purpose in moving forward. 

 “With this team, they learn by experience," she said. "Now every freshman that was out there, and every girl that hasn’t experienced that before … they’ve experienced it. So now, I think it’s going to make them stronger.”

They will need to be strong, as their schedule only gets harder. Following Bowling Green, Ball State’s next two opponents, No. 21 Kent State and No. 23 Kentucky. Walsh is looking forward to the challenge these teams present.

“I’m really excited about going to Bowling Green, going to Kent State, and then being home with Kentucky,” Walsh said, “We are set up to succeed. I just feel like the schedule is set up for us to go and have good scores.”

Walsh is also excited about the chemistry her team has developed this season.  She has been able to consistently use the same line ups, which she feels gives her athletes an added level of comfort in competing. 

“We found our sweet spot,” Walsh said, “We know who our people are, and even beyond that we have girls who are stepping up and adding things in the gym.”