Coach Rifanty Kahfiani is calling this weekend “the toughest” Mid-American Conference (MAC) matches that Ball State Women’s tennis (14-2, 2-0 MAC) will have to face.
Friday, the Cardinals welcomed in the Buffalo Bulls (15-4, 1-1 MAC). Ball State came away with a convincing 6-1 win.
The Cardinals were in control of the doubles point to begin the match, as fourth-years Emily Desai and Jessica Braun earned a 6-4 win on court three.
Fourth-year Amy Kaplan and first-year Annika Planinsek continued their dominant play as they breezed to a 6-1 win on court two. Together, they are now 6-0 on the year in doubles. The dynamic of a freshman playing with a senior is something that Kaplan cherishes and doesn’t take for granted.
“It’s just so much fun playing with her (Planinsek),” Kaplan said. “She reminds me a lot of me when I was a freshman, thrown in the doubles lineup and taking it in stride. I’m really proud of the fact that I’m able to lead the team and this great group of girls, and that they trust me with that.”
Kaplan has been doing it in a lot of different ways for the Cardinals so far this season. She’s 12-1 in singles. Friday, she cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 win on court two. Being a consistent player has been a vital part of Kaplan’s game over the course of her career. She says that details are the most important piece to holding a level of consistency.
“For me it’s just the little things,” Kaplan said. “Being a senior, you’ve seen a lot, done a lot, and experienced a lot, but the one thing that I take pride in is doing the little thing’s correctly.”
As for the other singles courts, Planinsek won 6-1, 6-4, and after missing the first MAC match of the season last week versus Western Michigan (9-4, 0-1 MAC) due to illness, second-year Elena Malykh won 6-2, 6-3.
Third-year Masha Polishchuk used a second set tiebreak to take court one, and it took fourth-year Jessica Braun a third set tiebreak to win on the fourth singles court by a score of 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 10-6.
Up next for Ball State is what is most likely their biggest match of the year. They’ll go on the road to face the Toledo Rockets (10-3, 2-0 MAC), who are ranked No. 74 in the nation by the International Tennis Association’s Collegiate Tennis Rankings. Kahfiani knows the opportunity that stands in front of the team right now, as they have a chance to take a real grip on the MAC regular season standings. It won’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination.
“We expect them (Toledo) to be coming at us. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to be scared, or make ourselves small, but we’re prepared for that,” Kahfiani. “I told them today to play hard and play with your heart.”
First serve is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. in Toledo, Ohio.
Contact Caleb Zuver with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @zuves35.
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