There were no first-match jitters for the Ball State women’s tennis team today.
Ball State (1-0) took on the IUPUI Jaguars (0-1) in the season opener at the Muncie Northwest YMCA, where Ball State didn’t drop a single match or set.
It was a match where the Cardinals had a more talented team, but that doesn’t mean there aren't important takeaways for the team going forward.
With IUPUI only having six players competing today, there wasn’t any room to include exhibition matches, but Cardinals Head Coach Max Norris wanted to switch the lineups around to make sure everyone was getting some early season experience and exposure.
“I wanted to see people get opportunities, and I wanted to see people get tested in different positions. I think we definitely accomplished that,” Head Coach Max Norris said.
Allison Mulville and Amy Kaplan, along with Emma Peeler and Masha Polishchuk, both won their doubles matches 6-0 to give the team the doubles point for the match.
In singles action, Emma Peeler and Jessica Braun each cruised to 6-0, 6-0 wins in their matchups.
Amy Kaplan dominated with a 6-1, 6-1 win, while Elena Malykh handled Sarah Lounsbury 6-0, 6-3. Emily Desai won her sixth singles matchup in straight sets also.
But freshman Annika Planisek was competing in her first collegiate tennis match today, and she had to earn every point. Battling the first match jitters was a huge key for her.
“Of course there were nerves,” said Planisek. “I’m glad I tried to make them not to feel like they were taking over me.”
While other matches finished up quickly, all of the courts descended on court 3 where Planisek was in a tightly contested first set with IUPUI’s Emma Dell in third singles. The opponents held their serves until Planisek was up 6-5, and closed the door to win the first set 7-5.
She’s coming out of her first collegiate match already battle-tested and is learning what to do in a close match.
“I tried to play the game that was most appropriate to play with the opponent,” Planisek said. “I just tried to listen to my coaches and tried to take their advice on how to play and approach the ball.”
It propelled her to win the second set 6-1, and she notched the first win of her college tennis career.
The Cardinals will travel to Purdue tonight to take on the Boilermakers tomorrow, and the team knows that it’s a big early season measuring stick for the team.
“It’s a big opportunity to play a Big 10 school,” said Planisek. “I think it’s a good thing for us to challenge us even more.”
The team has their first win of 2023 under their belt, but the back-to-back MAC champs will find out a lot about their team tomorrow, with first serve scheduled for noon in West Lafayette.