Ball State’s Women’s Tennis couldn’t quite get things going Saturday afternoon, as Louisville ran away with a 5-2 win in the second-ever meeting between the two Cardinal squads. Three of the four singles points went to Louisville in straight sets.
“We're definitely not pleased with the result or content at all with the result,” head coach Max Norris said. “But we did see some positive things, and we also saw some things we need to work on. So, you know whenever you play a good team, those things are very easily identifiable, and so we're happy.”
This is the second year Louisville has beaten Ball State, although this year was a little different in that Ball State had four freshmen see playing time on the court.
“We had three freshmen playing top four singles at one (Jessica Braun), two (Emma Peeler) and four (Amy Kaplan), and then we had a freshman on each doubles line,” Norris said. “A lot of Louisville’s players are transfers and have college tennis experience. So, for our freshmen to come out here and step in like that, that was very positive for them to get that experience.”
Sophomore Livia Lukacs handily defeated her opponent Maia Haumueller on court six by a score of 6-2, 6-0.
“She just has an amazing attitude,” Norris said of Lukacs. “I mean, she was hurt last year — credit to trainer Neil Hazen and the athletic staff for really helping her. She didn't play as well in the doubles match, but it was just remarkable how much she turned it around in singles.”
Norris also credited Lukacs for her pinpoint focus whenever she is on the court.
“She's just a tennis nut,” Norris said. “She loves and lives for it. She goes out there, and, you know, you're in the Muncie YMCA. Basketballs are bouncing around, and she's out there locked in like she's at Wimbledon, and that's just what you love about her.”
Lukacs did not see much playing time last year for the Cardinals and currently sits at 2-0 for her singles season.
“Throughout the season, I plan to improve both as a player and as a person,” Lukacs said. “I would just focus on my attitude and my effort every day to be able to improve.”
Freshman Amy Kaplan was the other player earning a point for Ball State, defeating Louisville’s Jelena Vujanic (6-4, 6-3) on court four.
“The biggest thing to take away from today is that when we play a good team, we can't wait around for opportunities,” Norris said. “We can't wait around for competence, and we can't wait around to take a risk. We have to go assert ourselves and take that risk.”
In doubles, the teams of Peeler and Lukacs (2-6), Kaplan and junior Victoria Sec (5-6, [7-9]) and senior Rebecca Herrington and freshman Emily Desai (3-6) each lost in their respective matches.
The Cardinals will head to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, next weekend to play Western Kentucky at 2 p.m. Friday, followed by host Middle Tennessee at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“That's a challenge for sure because if you want to win the MAC Tournament, you may have to win three matches in a row. You definitely have to win at least two matches in a row,” Norris said. “So, this is a good first opportunity to play two matches in a row and see, whatever happens on Friday, if we are able to bounce back and then try to be better on the next day. Whenever you have a disappointment, you just have to look toward your next goal, and that's for sure our next goal.”