Going on the road against three-time defending Mid-American Conference Champion Western Michigan University and winning is hard enough.
Couple that with losing the doubles point and five out the first six sets in singles and it is the recipe for a blowout.
Despite all the odds against them, the Ball State University men's tennis team managed to pull out a 4-3 victory over Western Michigan to remain undefeated in MAC regular season play.
"I can't put into words what a turnaround it was and what it showed in terms of our toughness," coach Bill Richards said. "That is what athletics is all about. It makes you proud as a coach to see an effort like that."
It took 16 sets, two tiebreakers and every member on the team battling to pull off the victory.
"Everyone was able to fight back in their matches today and make it close," junior Shaun Bussert said. "Everyone was either winning or able to stay on the court longer. Staying out there helped everyone else out on the team keep fighting."
The story of the MAC regular season for Ball State so far has been the balance of play throughout the lineup. Last week freshman Alexandre Brym stepped up to win the last match and this week was no different. Both Andres Monroy and Cliff Morrison were coming off losses last week, but picked up the slack today when the team needed it.
"It shows all the experience people have gotten this year," Bussert said. "Guys are starting to play better and are willing to step up when the team needs them."
Despite the consistent play in singles competition, Richards knows his team will have to play better in doubles as the team continues to move forward.
The Cardinals have an opportunity to fine-tune their play during a match against the University of Notre Dame on Wednesday.
"We have to keep searching for the right combinations in doubles and I have a lot of evaluation and decisions to make," Richards said. "You can't expect to lose the doubles point and win four singles matches every time. I'm glad we have a mid-week match to work on doubles a little bit more."
With the University at Buffalo next in MAC play, Ball State will be looking to put an impressive foot forward to show it can compete with any team it plays.
"In the past it's been all about missed opportunities," Bussert said. "We've had the ability to play with these teams all along we just hadn't been stepping up. Now we are playing to the level we know we are capable of."