Ball State women’s tennis won its home opener at the Northwest YMCA Center Jan. 29 with a 6-1 victory over Dayton.
The Cardinals got off to a flying start by winning all three matches to take the first point. On court one, Toni Ormond and Carmen Blanco looked a formidable duo, playing with considerable pace, precision and power. The pairing had an answer for everything their opponents Mandy Merchant and Jade Kawamoto threw at them and cruised to a 6-1 victory.
Peyton Gollhofer and Audrey Berger proved to be too much for Dayton’s Marlys Bridgham and Jackie Kawamoto on court three, winning 6-2. This meant the contest on court 2 could be cut short as Rosalinda Calderon and Rebecca Herrington finished their match against Alex Townsend and Natalie Allen up 5-2.
Head coach Max Norris spoke of the importance of getting the doubles’ point earlier in the week, and the pair's work in training paid off.
“I was happy with doubles because I wanted to see Toni and Carmen have to play that top spot, you know, experience that pressure," he said. "Becca and Rosa, for them to play [number] two doubles and this is Rebecca’s first match as a freshman. And Peyton and Audrey, they played a lot together last year but they hadn’t played together all fall because Peyton had been in and out with an injury. So, I was happy with how everybody responded. I think that’s a good sign for me that they don’t know exactly what’s coming but they still respond positively.”
Their doubles’ joy laid the foundations for a successful singles session. Berger and Herrington won their matches in straight sets on courts four and five, respectively, as did Isabelle Dohanics on court two. Dohanics lost to her opponent Alex Townsend last fall, but gained revenge with a 6-2, 6-3 win.
On court six, Calderon conceded the first set but went on to win the second 6-0 before winning the match in a thrilling 17-15 tiebreaker. Ormond also had to play a tie-breaker on court three, but eventually lost to Jade Kawamoto 7-6, 1-6, 10-8.
Gollhofer played out an intense encounter against Dayton’s Marlys Bridgham on court one. After winning the first set 6-2, she stumbled at the start of the second, going down 0-3. However, she harnessed her loud and erratic energy to win the match 6-2 7-5, breaking serve in the last game.
Ball State is now 3-1 with the team facing a home double-header next weekend, first against Illinois State Feb. 4 and then against Wright State University Feb. 5.