Ball State men’s tennis prepares for first-place MAC foe Western Michigan

<p>Head coach Bill Richards talks to his team to get them ready for the singles matches against the University of Toledo at the Northwest YMCA in Muncie on March 24. Ball State won 5-2. <strong>Eric Pritchett, DN</strong></p>

Head coach Bill Richards talks to his team to get them ready for the singles matches against the University of Toledo at the Northwest YMCA in Muncie on March 24. Ball State won 5-2. Eric Pritchett, DN

In the previous Mid-American Conference matches, Ball State men’s tennis (12-7, 2-2 MAC) won the doubles point. The Cardinals know their upcoming match will be tough, and the doubles point is crucial again.

“Against any really good team, if you don’t win the doubles point, then you know it’s going to be an uphill battle,” head coach Bill Richards said. “Hopefully you can, but if you don’t, then you need to put it behind you and move on.” 

The Cardinals square off against the first-place Western Michigan Broncos (16-4, 3-0 MAC).  A week ago, the Cardinals faced off against Northern Illinois. Saturday's MAC match will show a lot of the same challenges for Ball State as it competes against a solid opponent.

“[Western Michigan has] definitely emerged as the top team in the league, but at the same time, it's a great opportunity for us,” Richards said. “We’re a good team, and we’re looking forward to trying to prove that.”

One of the players to watch is redshirt junior Colin Rigney. In the past three matches, Rigney and doubles partner Nemanja Guzina have won their doubles match. Richards said Rigney has played solid in the lineup.

Related: Diversity shows on the Ball State men’s tennis team

“We made that change when we were out in Las Vegas,” Richards said. “Colin is a very good doubles player. We have a lot of confidence in putting him in the doubles lineup. I thought it was important to get him in there.”

The match begins at 2 p.m. Saturday against Western Michigan at West Hills Athletic Club.

Contact Patrick Murphy with comments at prmurphy2@bsu.edu or on Twitter @PMURPH505.

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