Ball State women's tennis was knocked out of the Mid-American Conference tournament today, losing 4-2 to Miami in the semifinals at the Northwest YMCA.
After their MAC regular season championship success last week, the Cardinals (20-3, 8-0 MAC) got off to the perfect start in the doubles.
They made quick work of Miami’s doubles teams. First to finish were sophomore Audrey Berger and junior Julia Sbircea on court two as they beat the junior Redhawk pairing Hannah Shteyn and Anastasiia Vasiukhina 6-2.
Senior Carmen Blanco and sophomore Peyton Gollhofer wrapped things up for the Cardinals, winning 6-3 against junior Nelli Ponomareva and sophomore Anzhelika Shapovalova.
The match on court three stopped play once the doubles point was decided. Sophomore Isabelle Dohanics and senior Toni Ormond were up 4-2 over senior Andreea Badileanu and sophomore Emily Struble.
Who played their last match today:
Carmen Blanco (Doubles: 15-2, 6-1 MAC. Singles: 13-7, 7-1 MAC)
Rosa Calderon (Doubles: 8-6, 1-2 MAC. Singles: 12-3, 4-2 MAC)
Toni Ormond (Doubles: 8-4, 1-2 MAC. Singles: 16-7, 6-2 MAC)
Unfortunately for the reigning tournament champions, they could not continue their doubles form into the singles, where Miami stepped up its level of play.
Courts four and six are not in the main arena, and today they were the first to finish. Berger won her match 6-2 6-2 against Vasiukhina to put the Cardinals up 2-0. However, Struble put Miami on the scoreboard as she also completed a straight sets victory over freshman Rebecca Herrington, 6-4 6-1.
The atmosphere in the main arena was electric. Momentum was swinging this way and that and supporters of both teams were in full voice for their teams.
It was Miami (12-11, 5-3 MAC), however, who would have the last word today.
On court three, Ormond lost 6-3 6-2 to Badileanu. Then, almost like dominoes, the results fell into place for Miami quickly. Dohanics couldn’t come out on top in the second set tiebreak and was beaten 6-3 7-6 (5) by Shteyn on court five.
Minutes later, after being down 3-0 in the second set, sophomore Gollhofer began serving in the second set tiebreak. The whole match came down to whoever could get to seven points first.
After deciding the last two matches in dramatic circumstances, Gollhofer could not produce the heroics again and eventually lost 6-2 7-6 (1) to Shapovalova.
Play on court one was abandoned at 1-1 in the third set after senior Blanco and Ponomareva both took a set each.
Mirroring scenes from last week’s victory for Ball State, Miami’s team rushed to embrace Shapovalova and celebrate as a devastated Ball State consoled each other at the back of the court.
Akron (23-3, 7-1 MAC) plays Buffalo (12-8, 5-3 MAC) this afternoon to determine who will play in tomorrow’s midday final against Miami.