Riding a five match home winning streak, Ball State plays a team that it's lost to each of the previous three seasons.

This year, however, Ball State (6-1, 5-0 home) will play Lipscomb (2-3, 0-2 away) at home, compared to the last three seasons head-to-head matches played on the road. 

Lipscomb's record is deceiving, beating top teams like Tennessee and Vanderbilt this season, head coach Bill Richards said it will be a challenge to keep Ball State's six-match winning steak going. 

“We have played down at their place for the last three years and lost three years in a row to them,” Richards said. “They’re always a very good team. They have all International players and they are very good.” 

Still, playing at home should prove to be an advantage for Ball State, who is undefeated at the Northwest YMCA this season. 

With this home-match winning streak, the team could be on its way to an impressive home record, with six matches remaining, the Cardinals have a chance to tie the 11-win home match total achieved by the 2009-10 team. 

Simply put, Richards said “it’s good to be home.” 

“This particular year our schedule just worked out that we have more home matches than we have in past seasons,” Richards said. “We have taken advantage of that and we have taken care of our home court so far.” 

To prepare for this match this weekend, junior Conner Andersen has worked on his conditioning, which has proven to be important down the stretch in matches. 

“Late in the match you’re going to get tired and miss more shots and make more errors,” Andersen said. “If you’re still feeling strong and good at the end of the match, you’re going to be in better condition to win.” 

Last weekend, Andersen was in better condition than his Cleveland State counterpart, losing first singles set (6-7) only to come back and win the next two sets (6-3, 6-4). 

Whenever he’s in these pivotal situations, Andersen said he faces adversity confidently. 

“Whenever everyone is watching and cheering, you get a lot of energy from that and at the same time you got to stay calm and focus on the little things,” Andersen said. “I’m just thinking about what’s working and what’s not working to see what I should try to do differently in the next couple of points.” 

Freshman Bryce Bonin also won a tough singles match last weekend against the Vikings. Bonin and the other three freshmen have stepped up against tough competition this season. Bonin said they’re just playing some good tennis. 

Ball State and Lipscomb square off at 1 p.m. on Feb. 17 at the Northwest YMCA.

Contact Patrick Murphy with comments at prmurphy2@bsu.edu.