MEN'S TENNIS: Cardinals hope to beat Mastodons into extinction to begin six-match homestand

Ball State hosts IPFW after playing two straight Big Ten opponents

The Ball State University men's tennis team will test its legs against IPFW today to begin its six-game home stretch.

The match will be the first of two over the next four days for the Cardinals.

"This week has been very hard because we ran a lot," Andres Monroy said. "We didn't have a lot of time to prepare, but we know where we are as a team."

After losing the last two matches, coach Bill Richards thought his team needed a boost in their endurance.

"The emphasis has been conditioning this week in practice," Richards said. "We ran hard the last couple days, but let up today so we can be fresh for tomorrow."

Although the match Saturday against Illinois State University is on the radar, Richards has one thing on his mind for today.

"Our first priority [today] is to win," Richards said. "I intend to play our regular lineup unless Andres and Cliff [Morrison] can't go."

Injuries have been a recurring theme for the Cardinals throughout the year. Morrison has been battling knee tendonitis and Monroy is a recent victim of the injury bug with back problems.

"I have had a couple of injuries and haven't been able to practice as well as I want to," Monroy said. "Both coach and I believe I can get back to the level I was at. It will just take time."

Coming off consecutive 5-2 losses to Big Ten Conference foes Michigan State University and Purdue University, Ball State is hoping to get back on track.

"We didn't accomplish any of our goals against those teams so it's really hard," Monroy said. "We have to have good sets [today] so we can get ready for Saturday."

Despite the recent losses, Monroy said after Tuesday's practice he still sees fight in his team.

"It was a great environment Monday and today," Monroy said. "The team came in with a great attitude and fought the whole practice. We didn't beat any Big Ten schools, but were still happy with where we are. We just need to practice hard the rest of the season if we want to get better."