Ball State women's tennis goes 2-0 to start MAC play
Ball State women's tennis started off the 2017 season the same way it started its run to the 2016 Mid-American Conference title — with two wins.
On Friday, Ball State (14-2, 2-0 MAC) overcame a slow start in the doubles to defeat the Western Michigan Broncos (6-9, 0-2 MAC) 6-1. Then, on Sunday, it fought past the Northern Illinois Huskies (6-10, 0-2 MAC) to come out 6-1 winners.
At the start of conference play last season, Ball State beat Western Michigan 4-3 and Northern Illinois 5-2 in Muncie to start its 7-1 campaign that resulted in both the MAC regular season and tournament championships.
When: Friday, March 31
Where: Cardinal Creek Tennis Center
Time: 1 p.m.
Opponent: Bowling Green State
“We get fired up," head coach Max Norris said. "We’ve seen it all year, everyone really wants to beat us. They believe every win is a good win so they’re very fired up and that team [Northern Illinois[ was very fired up.”
Sophomore Audrey Berger has been on a run of her own this year, winning all 11 of her singles matches, including two this weekend.
Norris said he was impressed by his team's focus.
"It was a very tightly fought match," Norris said. "There was a lot of emotion, a lot of contention. To see our team really respond to that was fun to see.”
Going into the match against Northern Illinois, sophomore Peyton Gollhofer, who has played in the No. 1 and 2 spots this year, was on a singles winning streak of five in a row. However, that came to an end against Northern Illinois' Raven Neely.
“Peyton came out at the end there and didn’t win the match-breaker," Norris said. "But, at the same time, she fought so hard and sometimes that’s just the way it is in a match when the match is already decided. So, you’ve got to play a match-breaker instead of a full third set. But that’s the way it is.”
The Broncos “got off to such a good start" by winning the doubles point Friday, Norris said, and he also said the Cardinals started slow. He also said he was impressed by the team's ability to stand on its own two feet.
Even though Ball State looked to be comfortable on paper in the doubles against Northern Illinois — winning 6-1 in two of its matches — Norris didn't like the way the team started.
“I mean honestly, on two of the courts, we still kind of started slow, looking very nervous," Norris said. "I would say that letting one bad game become three or four, that changed. We still are working on it and we’re excited for our opportunities next Friday versus Bowling Green to get better in the doubles.”
Ball State hosts Bowling Green State in its next match on Friday. The match is scheduled to be played outdoors at Cardinal Creek Tennis Center on campus.