After several outstanding individual swims but an overall disappointing performance on Saturday, the men's swimming and diving team has a chance at redemption. The Cardinals dropped two dual meets on Saturday, losing to Mid-American Conference rivals Miami and Northern Illinois. The team will look to rebound at 6 p.m. tonight as they welcome Michigan State to Lewellen Pool. Needless to say, the reception will be less than friendly.
"They won a close one last year so we'd like to pay them back," junior Nick Schuyler said. "It's our first home meet of the season so that should get the guys going."
Head coach Bob Thomas would like to see his team get going, after citing a lack of emotion in their performance Saturday. He said the change of venue could be a major factor.
"We have a home pool advantage," Thomas said. "I think the favor still lies with Michigan State but it's going to be a close meet."
The two teams battled to a close decision last season in East Lansing, Mich., with the Spartans prevailing 135-108. They return a strong group of freestylers, including junior Joe Brennan, sophomore Joel Hageman and senior Scott Shafer, all of whom recorded victories in a recent dual meet with national powerhouse Georgia.
Several Cardinals, however, are within striking distance of their Spartan counterparts, including sophomore Jason Revere in the 200-butterfly and 200-individual medley, sophomore Rod Smith and senior Nick Badgett in the 200-backstroke and junior Zach Smith and sophomore Clint Cadden in the 200-breaststroke.
Diving could also be pivotal, as the Cardinal freshman duo of Ryan Plantz and Peter Sierra have posted comparable scores to the Spartans' Justin Laskowski, also a freshman.
Thomas says the Spartans will be strong, but he also feels his team has what it takes to brew a victory out of Lewellen's waters.
"We'll take a loss where we deserve one but this is our only home meet of the fall and we'll give our fans a good show."