Ball State men's tennis looks to rebound against Toledo after a 1-1 finish on the road

<p>Senior Andrew Stutz won in straight sets during the match against Eastern Illinois' Jared Woodson on Jan. 22 at Muncie's Northwest YMCA. Stutz won both sets 6-1. <strong>Grace Ramey, DN File</strong></p>

Senior Andrew Stutz won in straight sets during the match against Eastern Illinois' Jared Woodson on Jan. 22 at Muncie's Northwest YMCA. Stutz won both sets 6-1. Grace Ramey, DN File

Ball State men's tennis will continue Mid-American Conference play as it hosts Toledo on Saturday.

Against two MAC foes earlier this season, Ball State junior Nemanja Guzina went 2-1 in doubles and 1-1 in singles matches to put the Cardinals 1-1 on the match. Now in the team's third match of conference play, head coach Bill Richards said these conference matches have equal importance. 

“You have to go into every match as if it were for the conference championship,” Richard said. “We just have to have a mindset where nothing better than our best is going to get the job done.” 

After the first weekend of MAC play, the Cardinals are in third place behind Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. For this upcoming match, the Cardinals need to focus on carrying momentum from winning the doubles point to the singles matches. 

“I mean it’s great to win the doubles point,” Richards said. “Obviously, if you win it you can’t let down. If you lose it, then you just gotta not get discouraged and put it behind you and start over.” 

On the other side, starting over is what some of the Cardinals need to do in their singles matches. At the beginning of the first sets, there were only two out of six singles matches where the Cardinals were leading 2-1. Then they fell apart and only won one singles match. Richards said Northern Illinois “had the upper hand.” 

“Northern Illinois definitely outplayed us,” Richards said. “We did play really well in doubles. We got into most of our first sets in singles and kind of faded in the second sets for whatever reason. Maybe they took control.” 

Going into Saturday’s match against the Rockets, junior Tom Carney and freshman Chris Adams are 7-0 in doubles play.

“Sometimes with some doubles partners you don’t want to miss because you don’t know what their reaction will be,” Carney said. “But Chris is chill. If I miss the easiest shot in the world, he’s like ‘don’t worry about it.’ If you are with chill guys on the court, you have no pressure.” 

Like Carney, Guzina wants to help contribute to the team in its upcoming match against the Rockets. In the competitoin, Guzina said he wants to accomplish a positive win to loss ratio going into conference play. 

“Especially against a team like Toledo, since we only play them once,” Guzina said. “We have to capitalize on the first match and hopefully we get the win against them.”  

The Rockets (3-11) come into Saturday’s match with an 0-2 record in MAC play. Last weekend, they squared off against Northern Illinois and Buffalo and lost both matches 6-1. However, Ball State is approaching this match with the intensity of any other one.

“We gotta believe and hopefully we come out sharp,” Guzina said. “Tom has been doing a good job on the doubles lineup and still undefeated. Hopefully we can continue winning the doubles point and get great contributions from everyone else.” 

The first serve is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Northwest YMCA in Muncie.


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