In the final home match of the season, Ball State women’s tennis captured its second Mid-American Conference victory over Northern Illinois, 6-1. After an 0-4 start to conference play, the Cardinals swept the weekend to give improve to 2-4, giving them a shot when it comes to making the MAC Tournament at season’s end.
“We are kind of in a jumble with three other teams for the last two spots [in the tournament],” head coach Max Norris said. “We’re definitely mathematically still in it, and that’s an exciting thing, but at the same time we have to focus on ourselves.”
The last home match for the team might also serve as the last for senior Julia Sbircea, a player that Norris saw throughout the year as a consistent leader.
“Julia transferred in three years ago, and right away she just instilled a really solid work ethic," Norris said. "She’s obviously honest and just a good teammate, and she’s always worked really hard. … She’s never shied away from hard work, rather it be sprints or weights, in practice she’s always going to give you her best.”
As far as the match went, the Cardinals took the doubles point to start the day, with all three duos playing solid games to gain the early advantage.
“I think the key was in two doubles with Julia and Peyton [Golhoffer], they got off to a great start, and that really helped," Norris said. "Also, Isabelle [Dohanics] and Sarah [Swiderski], they did a good job in three doubles, especially with their volleys. … I just think overall that we were making returns and making first serves, and that got us off to a great start.”
In singles play, Ball State won across nearly every court, and Norris saw a team that wanted to close out its home schedule with good play and a victory.
“I think the feeling that this might be your last home match, and the feeling that if this is going to be our last match, might as well go out the right way," Norris said. "I think that was the overarching feeling that I was trying to get to them.”
This win bumps Ball State up to a 10-9 overall record as well as 2-4 in the MAC. The Cardinals will be in action this Friday against MAC opponent Buffalo. The Bulls are atop the MAC standings with a 7-0 conference record as well as being 14-3 overall.