WOMEN'S TENNIS: Ball State advances to MAC semifinals

Team wins thrilling match.

Ball State women’s tennis will advance to the semifinal round of the Mid-American Conference tournament for the first time in 15 years.

In the single-elimination MAC tournament, the No. 4 seeded Cardinals pulled off a nail biting win.  The Friday afternoon victory came against the 4-4 Western Michigan Broncos.

The sun was high casting light on the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center courts as MAC flags flew high and the opening games began.

The audibly monotone voices of ITA officials could be heard periodically announcing the score for each court.

In doubles play, WMU pulled away from the Cardinals quickly with leads as large as 5-1 in some sets.

“Her balls seem like they’re in the middle then they float out wide,” said Kathleen Hawkins of Courtney Wild’s serves.  Wild makes up one half of ‘Courtney squared,’ the No. 1 doubles team, as some fans call them.

After losing all doubles matches, save for one at the No. 3 spot, the team was in dire need of points.

Courtney Wild and Ashlyn Rang won in straight sets at No. 1. Freshman, Bethany Moore, won at the No. 6 spot as well.

Moore’s victory came half an hour before Kristel Sanders’ match, which would determine the team’s fate.

The crowd, with eyes peeled, was standing intently waiting on the outcome, sighing with relief after every point.

Moore clawed her way back to win the match from four points down in the third set.  The coaching staff and team were thrilled and excited as they ran onto the court to embrace Sanders, expressing how proud they were of her toughness.

With the win, Sanders improved her record to 8-1 against MAC opponents.

Sanders’ mom had not seen her play in college for the past three years and flew from the Netherlands to watch the tournament.

“I’m pretty tired, but I’m glad I pulled it out. It’s a good opportunity to fight to maybe get another win against the No.1 seed,” Sanders said.

The Cardinals defeated Miami during the regular season, crushing the Red Hawks’ perfect record.

On Saturday, the Cardinals play against No. 1 seed Miami at 10 a.m., moving them one step closer to the tournament’s championship game.


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