Squad opens season against Butler, Valparaiso

In a year in which Ball State's Men's Tennis schedule is filled to the brim with upper-tier opponents, some could see Saturday's season-opening matchups in Muncie against Butler and Valparaiso as the least of the team's worries.

Head Coach Bill Richards, however, said the Cards don't quite share that mindset.

"(Ball State) certainly won't overlook Butler for sure," Richards said. "In years past they've played us pretty tough."

The team will face tough challenges in Butler's Brandon Currie and Jimmy Borendame. The pair made it to the quarterfinals of the doubles bracket at the 2001 ITA Omni Hotels Midwest Championships hosted by Michigan State University last fall.

"Currie is someone we've not had very much success against," Richards said. "He is especially good indoors."

Currie defeated Ball State's Andrew Seni before advancing to the quarterfinals of the singles bracket at the ITA Championships. He also bested junior Chris Varga recently at the Milwaukee Classic.

Richards said he will likely play his two seniors, Seni and Jason Pressel, one and two, followed by Varga.

Ball State will likely count on Seni, Pressel and Varga to fill the void left by departing junior Michael Westerhof, who decided not to return to Ball State for personal reasons after the fall semester. Richards said the team has "put closure to that situation" and said he is confident the Cards will be able to overcome the loss.

The Cardinals defeated Butler and Valparaiso 6-1 and 7-0, respectively, in their last meetings.

Ball State plays Butler at noon and Valparaiso at 5 p.m. at the Muncie YMCA Indoor Tennis Center.