MEN'S TENNIS: Ball State travels to Michigan State to take on its third Big Ten opponent of season

The Cardinals are hoping to end the Spartans 3-match win streak

Despite losing to his last two Big Ten Conference opponents this year, Ball State University men's tennis coach Bill Richards isn't looking to make any changes.

"I told our team we had chances to win, we just didn't convert on crucial opportunities," Richards said. "We will have similar situations again this week. We just need to play better [and] come through under pressure to get the win."

Ball State rides its confidence into East Lansing, Mich., to take on Michigan State University today for a noon matchup.

"A win would be huge for our team," Richards said. "We have struggled against Big Ten teams the last couple years. We are going in with the mindset and intent to win."

The Spartans have a 5-2 record on the season and are riding a three-match win streak.

"I told the team today we are looking for improvement this weekend," Richards said. "If we take another step then I feel good about our chances. If not, then we will struggle."

For the Cardinals to have a good chance at a win, the team will bank on another strong performance from junior Eduardo Pavia. Pavia won in straight-sets at No. 1 singles against Purdue University last Saturday.

"Every single guy needs to come out and compete at each spot," Pavia said. "If everyone competes and takes care of their matches, we will have a good chance of winning four points."

Besides his strong play, Pavia tries to step up and lead the younger players in the right direction.

"I tell them to just enjoy the moment because it's fun to have this matchup," Pavia said. "I tell them we need to fight for every point and come through when it counts."

With two matches against similar competition within the Big Ten, Pavia believes his younger teammates are getting used to the pressure.

"We have some good matches under our belt now and the youngest guys know what is happening and how to react now," Pavia said. "For some of them, Purdue was their first close match."

Like his coach, Pavia doesn't lack the confidence to pull off an upset.

"I feel like I am playing the best tennis of my life right now," Pavia said.


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