Ball State men’s tennis (12-6) has faced three opponents from Indiana this season. Heading into today's match against in-state foe Butler, junior Conner Andersen said these matches against Indiana colleges are “more competitive.”
“A little more edgy match because you want to prove that you’re one of the top in-state schools,” Andersen said. “It will make it that much more intense. We have done pretty well so far and have held our own.”
Ball State redshirt freshman Luke Wiese is on the same page as Anderson and knows it will be a tough match.
“You always want to compete hard when it’s in-state,” Wiese said. “It’s kind of like you’re playing 2K against one of your roommates. You really gotta dial it in and make sure you’re ready to win.”
Against in-state opponents, the Cardinals are 4-1. Ball State head coach Bill Richards enjoys playing against these teams because of the energy it adds.
“We like to play teams in your region as much as possible,” Richards said. “A lot of our players know a lot of [Butler] players and I think there’s a mutual respect there from both of our teams. I certainly have a lot of respect for what they have done.”
With the mid-week matches, the Cardinals have fewer days to practice. However, matches like these, serve as preparation for the Mid-American Conference matches.
“I enjoy the mid-week matches,” Richards said. “I think it really helps prepare your team for a big conference match on the weekend. I think the match is a lot more preparation than practice.”
On the weekend, Ball State will face another MAC foe in Western Michigan. For right now, the team is only focused on the Bulldogs.
“Well, we’re going to play Butler and IUPUI anyway,” Richards said. “I think their coaches also agree that it’s good to get these mid-week matches late in the year. They have important conference matches on the weekend and so do we.”
Butler (11-4) has also faced three Indiana colleges this season, with wins over UIndy and Valparaiso and a loss to Purdue.
Last season the Bulldogs managed to beat the Cardinals, 4-3. Richards said the team has always had “very competitive matches” against the Bulldogs.
“[Butler] elevated their program to another level here in the last couple of years,” Richards said. “They’re obviously a much tougher opponent now then when they were a few years back.”
The match begins at 3 p.m. April 4 at Northwest YMCA in Muncie.