Ball State women’s tennis defeated Western Michigan Friday by a score of 4-3. The tightly contested match came down to the wire, where junior Isabelle Dohanics came out on top to secure Ball State's first Mid-American Conference victory on the season.
The match started off with the Cardinals winning a competitive doubles point, where head coach Max Norris saw a team that continued to battle even with adversity staring them in the face.
“You have to give Western Michigan a lot of credit because they came out ready to play, especially at one and two doubles,” Norris said. “They had a lot of energy, and they did some really good things. I think for us, we were really focused on making our returns and having good attitudes.”
Norris also figured that the doubles point would go a long way into defeating this Western Michigan team.
“I knew that it was going to be really important to win the doubles point because [Western Michigan] is so good at one through three singles.”
Cardinals have had difficulty all season when it comes to hanging tough and prolonging sets, but Norris thinks that today his team did a much better job in that regard, even if they didn’t come out on top in the game.
“There wasn’t many changes," Norris said. "Other than that, we came out and stuck around a little more in first sets. Audrey [Berger] stuck around even though she didn’t win her first set, and Peyton [Golhoffer] was close in her first and second sets even though she didn’t win. For Victoria [Sec] and Rebecca [Herrington], they did a good job of closing the deal on their matches.”
Ball State has also found itself on the wrong end of tiebreakers earlier in the season, losing close matches on the final set. This time around, the team came out on top, and Norris saw a lot of heart out of Dohanics in that final set.
“She won her first set, 6-0, and fell behind in the second, 3-0 … She’s one of our more experienced competitors, and walking into the match, I felt really good that she was out there. I knew she has been in situations like that before, and I just believed in her. I know she was really thinking about her score and wanting to come through, and I think that is what helped her in the end.”
With a conference win under the belt for the team, Norris thinks this puts the group in a better position as far as the season and the MAC Tournament is concerned.
“It gives us a shot as far as the tournament goes, and I told the team what we wanted to focus on was getting better ourselves and being strong. You don’t want to be that type of person who when they get down, they just give up … I said let’s challenge ourselves and see what we're made of.”
Ball State now sits at 9-9 overall and 1-4 in the MAC. It plays its final home match this Sunday against Northern Illinois. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m.