Despite a victory earlier this weekend for Ball State women’s tennis, the Cardinals were unable to make it two-for two as they fell Sunday to the Toledo Rockets, 5-2. The tone was set early for the match, with Toledo capturing the early advantage in a hard-fought doubles point that was at the expense of junior Audrey Berger and sophomore Rebecca Herrington, 7-5. Despite the dropping a close game, coach Max Norris didn’t feel that any negative feelings carried over to the rest of the day.
“I don’t think [the doubles point] really helped us, but it didn’t hurt us,” Norris said. “It more so helped [Toledo]. I think they played well, especially at one doubles, and they deserved to win, and I think that allowed their players to feel more confident going ahead.”
In singles play, there were a couple of matches where players could not close out sets, allowing the opponent to stick around and turn the tide in their favor. Norris sees this as a product of a lack of focus on the match at hand and too much looking around to other courts.
“You have to continue to focus on yourself when you’re playing and not look around or worry about other matches,” Norris said. “There’s a natural inclination when things aren’t going your way as a team, when you get in a tight situation yourself, to look around and wonder what someone else is doing. You’ve got to continue to worry about yourself.”
When it comes down to it, Norris saw today that his team needed to simplify the problem and focus on just hitting their shots when they needed to.
“We just need to make more balls,” Norris said. “In a lot of the points and a lot of the games we’re missing first balls, second balls, really short into the rally. We need to make a lot more balls. It’s pretty simple.”
This loss drops the Cards to an 0-4 record in Mid-American Conference play, which Norris feels could be taking a toll on the psyche of the team. However, he believes they should focus on the positives.
“I think anytime you lose, it’s going to get in your head a little, and you’ve got to think about it, and you’ve got to figure it out a way to get through it,” Norris said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. I think our team has to remember all the great things they’ve accomplished as individual players. I also think they’ve got to ask themselves how committed they are.”
The day brought a couple of high notes, however, as Norris highlights a couple of players that caught his eye throughout today’s games.
“Rebecca Herrington and Victoria [Sec], who are underclassmen, I think did a good job fighting through some adversity, playing some good competitors,” Norris said. “I think they really equipped themselves well there, and that was a positive.”
Sunday's defeat brings Ball State to an 8-9 record overall. Toledo improves to 13-5 overall with a 3-2 record in the MAC. Next weekend brings two more home matches, first against Northern Illinois on Friday, followed by a tilt against Western Michigan on Sunday. Both matches are scheduled to start doubles play at 1:00 p.m., with singles following right after.