MEN'S TENNIS: Western Michigan crushes Ball State with 7-0 sweep

Coach Bill Richards calls it "a disgraceful performance on our part"

It was the most important match of Ball State's season, yet the opportunity to take down Preseason Mid-American Conference favorite Western Michigan never presented itself.

Ball State lost 0-7 to Western Michigan Saturday, eliminating Ball State from the MAC title chase.

"It was a very disappointing performance," coach Bill Richards said. "I'm very disappointed with my team right now."

Ball State was outnumbered and outgunned by Western Michigan. Junior Zane Smith sat out the match as he injured his ankle in Wednesday's victory over Butler. The Broncos also played four seniors in their line-up while Ball State played three sophomores and a freshman.

"Somebody has to step up and get the job done," Richards said on Smith's injury. "Obviously we did not do that today."

Western Michigan took all three of the doubles matches, making it one of the few shutouts Ball State has suffered in doubles this season.

"We got killed," Richards said on doubles. "A disgraceful performance on our part. A great performance on their part. We played bad and they played good so it was a blowout. We never got into the match."

The Broncos controlled the match in singles action as well, taking No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 singles in straight sets.

Sophomore Dalton Albertin took Michael Calderone to three sets at No. 1 singles, but lost the third set 6-4. Calderone leads the conference with two MAC Player of the Week Awards this season.

Sophomore Austin Sansone and junior Andres Monroy both forced a tiebreaker for the third set but came up short.

Sansone lost 10-8, while Monroy blew a 7-5 lead, losing 10-7.

To fill in for the injured Smith, Richards selected freshmen Austin Smith to play No. 6 singles against senior Brad Noel from Western Michigan. Smith, who had not had much playing time at singles this season, lost 6-1, 6-2.

"I felt that he gave us our best chance to win," Richards said on playing Smith.

Athletic Director Tom Collins was in attendance for the first half of the match. The first 50 fans received a Ball State men's tennis T-shirt courtesy of athletics.

The loss moves Ball State to 1-2 in MAC play while Western Michigan improves to a perfect 4-0.

Because Toledo owns a 3-0 conference record and the tiebreaker over Ball State, the best the Cardinals can do is earn the third seed in the MAC tournament.

Ball State hosts winless Chicago State Sunday and will travel to Buffalo Friday to finish the regular season.


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