After sweeping Western Kentucky on Saturday, Ball State women’s tennis put together another unblemished performance against Oakland (0-4) on Sunday, winning 7-0.
The Cardinals (6-2) used this weekend to get everyone on the roster involved. It was a common theme across both matches.
On Saturday, second-year Ella Hazelbaker made her first start of the season at third doubles with fourth-year Amy Kaplan. Today, the pair moved up to the first doubles slot and picked up right where they left off, winning 6-3.
“It was a lot of fun,” Hazelbaker said. “I played with [Amy] both matches this weekend and she’s one of my great friends on the team. I was pretty nervous at first but I just worked on staying confident in my shots, and being consistent.”
Fourth-year Emily Desai and second-year Elena Malykh gave Ball State the doubles point with a 6-3 win.
In singles, the Cardinals continued their domination. Kaplan and Malykh made quick work in their matches. Third-year Masha Polishchuk took the first singles court 6-2, 6-2, and fourth-year Emma Peeler took care of the second court 6-1, 6-3.
Fifth-year Allison Mulville made her second consecutive singles start. She won 6-4, 6-0. Desai made just her third start of the year in singles and won 7-6, 6-4.
First-year Jacqueline Pearsall and third-year Isabelle Behrman made appearances in the exhibition matches, which they both won.
Getting a contribution out of everyone is something that means a great deal to head coach Max Norris.
“I was happy to have our depth utilized, I was happy to get to play a lot of people,” he said. “That meant a lot to me personally with how hard everybody works.”
There are a lot of reasons why Norris can shuffle the lineup from match to match, but, as Hazelbaker puts it, everyone on the team being “really close” is a big reason why it’s a seamless transition for everyone.
“No matter who you get put with in doubles, everyone has a good bond,” she said.
Ball State has now won four matches in a row and is starting to hit its stride as the Mid-American Conference (MAC) season approaches. With just five non-conference matchups left, Norris said he likes where the team is headed and can take a lot from this weekend.
“We’re definitely gaining momentum at the right time, and involving everyone at the right time,” Norris said. “I also think it’s valuable reps. It’s not just ‘hey you’re getting to play.’ You have earned it, and once you’re playing you’re getting even more valuable experience, you’re getting pushed, and we’re going to need that.”
The Cardinals will have a chance to get their win streak to six on Sunday, Feb. 26th, as they host a double-header with Dayton and Eastern Illinois. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Contact Caleb Zuver with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @zuves35.
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