MEN'S TENNIS: Ball State overcomes doubles funk to defeat Toledo in MAC opener

Freshman comes up with clutch win at No. 4 singles to clinch win for Cardinals

If those on hand at the Muncie Northwest YMCA Tennis Center didn't at first know that it was conference time for Ball State University, they certainly do by now.

With the match tied 3-3 with the University of Toledo on Saturday, Ball State freshman Alexandre Brym found himself in a tight match at No. 4 singles. He had already saved one match point and was facing another.

If Brym lost, Ball State would not only lose the match, but also fall into an early hole in the Mid-American Conference standings.

"I was up twice before in the match, so I just kept thinking to myself I can't lose this," Brym said. "So I just said, ‘OK, I'm going to do the best I can on every point and just don't give in.'"

Battling back, Brym was able to win a second-set tiebreaker to break even in the match. He controlled the match from then on and won the day for his team.

"I actually didn't know that if I lost then the team lost," Brym said. "I told myself I wouldn't ask and just wait until after. Once I won and saw everyone jumping around and coming at me I finally asked and it was a great feeling."

The win brought the Cardinals' record to 12-7 on the season, 1-0 in the conference. None of those 12 wins, however, was bigger than this one.

"There was a lot more riding on this match than any other this season," Cliff Morrison said. "It was a do-or-die match for us and we played like it today."

Despite the win, doubles plagued the Cardinals' performance once again. The team lost two out of three matches and was forced to come up with four wins in singles.

"Our team took it too easy in doubles," Morrison said. "In singles, everyone pulled their weight. We realized it was all up to us and no one was going to get the win for us."

In coach Bill Richards' mind, the problems in doubles aren't technical, but mental. The team has a week until its next match to figure it out.

"Every match you try and learn something about yourself," Richards said. "We have to do a better job playing loose and playing with confidence in doubles."

Next up for Ball State is the reigning MAC Champions from Western Michigan University. Ball State is looking forward to a little role reversal.

"In a match like today we were the favorites and felt the pressure like we can't lose," Morrison said. "Next week we are the underdogs and we can go in and scare them like Toledo did to us today. We can just go out and play because we know we are more than capable of beating them."