Ball State women's tennis makes the short journey to Indianapolis to play the Butler Bulldogs on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cardinals (10-2) are riding a five-match win streak while the Bulldogs (3-10) are on a three-match losing streak. The match will be indoors and begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Indianapolis.
“I assume they’re going to play with a lot of energy and a lot of excitement,” Ball State head coach Max Norris said. “I think they’ve got some good players to be honest with you. Last year, they had kind of a struggle of a year but this year they look like they’re a better team.”
Last week, on the road in Tennessee, the Cardinals beat Belmont and Western Kentucky. Norris said playing teams of differing qualities over a season can only be helpful.
“I think we’ve been tested some, which has been good, and maybe some of the matches we would have been tested in last year, we maybe won a little more convincing this year,” Norris said. “But, at the same time, we’ve been humbled some too so I think it’s been a good mix of levels of competition.”
Of Ball State's 10 wins this year, seven have been won by a score of 6-1 or better. Last year, at the same stage of the season, the Cardinals did the same in eight out of twelve of their wins.
The high standard could lead to added pressure, but Norris said there are positives, too.
“I think at the same time, that’s kind of what drives a lot of our players and keeps them going,” Norris said. “You can just see it in everything they do whether it’s their school work or how they are in practice. That’s a standard we want to embrace.”
This high standard was reflected last week when Peyton Gollhofer was named the MAC Player of the Week and was a part of the MAC doubles team of the week with Carmen Blanco. It’s the first conference awards won by the team this year and Norris said he was pleased about it.
“An award doesn’t really mean anything if it doesn’t help your team that much,” Norris said. “I think that showed how important Peyton and Carmen’s performances were in those two matches. Everyone on the team contributed in their own way but those two people specifically.”
The game against Butler is the first of two this week. The Cardinals have a home match against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon.