Ball State men’s tennis player Bryce Bonin returns a ball during a warm-up volley with his partner betweens sets against Eastern Illinois University on Jan. 20 at the Northwest YMCA in Muncie. Ball State won the match 6-1. Briana Hale, DN
Freshman class stepped up in victories over Eastern Illinois and Belmont
Ball State men’s tennis (2-1) won both of its matches against Eastern Illinois and Belmont over the weekend. Head coach Bill Richards said he was very pleased with his team’s performance this weekend.
“Even though we won 5-2, I mean basically it was closer than that and I thought we showed a lot of toughness after having three match points in doubles and not closing it out,” Richards said. “I was disappointed in not getting that doubles point. Then we were able to come back and regroup to win five out of six singles, which was very solid.”
Ball State's freshman class came to play, as it won three singles matches against Eastern Illinois and two against Belmont. Thibault De Negri said his freshman class has potential.
“I think we have a pretty good freshman team this year,” De Negri said. “I think that we will have a lot of potential in the coming years.”
Freshman Chris Adams contributed to the hot freshman roster as he won both of his singles matches this weekend. Adams only gave up seven game victories over the weekend. Richards said it was a very good weekend for him.
“Yeah, that’s a good weekend for Chris, that’s for sure,” Richards said. “He’s a good player and he’s getting a lot of confidence now.”
The freshmen weren’t the only ones who played well this weekend. On Sunday, juniors Conner Andersen and Marko Guzina came up with pivotal victories over Belmont.
“There was a lot of pressure when the match was on the line and I thought both of those guys did a great job, especially Marko after having four match points,” Richards said. “He was up 6-2, then the break there and had four match points to close it out. He didn’t get it and it showed a lot of toughness for him to regroup and come back and win the third set.”
Against Belmont, Andersen’s serve was on point and showed in its victory over Belmont. Andersen said he worked on his serves late at night.
“Tom came out with me really late at night and we would hit a lot of serves,” Andersen said. “We practiced a ton and it paid off today.”
In his singles match, Andersen won the first set (7-5), then lost the second set (3-6). To force a final set, Andersen was up 4-2 in the set, but couldn’t put it away. The score was tied in the third set, which forced a tiebreaker set with junior Zak Khan.
Andersen won the tiebreaker (7-4), which gave the Cardinals another point.
“Everyone was really tired, because it was a long match and real physical, but the tiebreaker went my way again,” Andersen said. “Just played well and I’m happy how it turned out.”
Ball State men’s tennis will continue to practice for another two weeks before its next match on Feb. 2 when it travels to Xavier.
Contact Patrick Murphy with comments at email@example.com.