Ball State Men’s Tennis sent four individuals to play in both doubles and singles action at the Black and Gold Invitational this past weekend.
Head coach Bill Richards said this weekend was a different type of tournament.
“There was only three teams with four players each, so it’s a very small round-robin format,” Richards said. “It guaranteed each player four singles and four doubles matches for the weekend.”
On Friday, the Cardinals began the day with doubles against Purdue. The pair of freshman Kahamasi Muhiga and sophomore Alec Robillard faced Julian Saborio and Maksymilian Raupuk. The Cardinals lost the match, 2-8. Going into singles play, Muhiga faced Dominik Sochurek while Robillard played Franz Luna. Both Muhiga and Robillard lost their singles matches.
Muhiga didn’t have the same success he had at the Louisville Invitational; he only won one of his four singles and doubles matches. Muhiga said the competition level was better at Purdue than at Louisville.
“At Louisville, the quality of matches was pretty good,” Muhiga said. “But at Purdue, I played tougher opponents all throughout my matches.”
The Cardinals played two rounds of doubles matches and two rounds of singles on Saturday. Muhiga and Robillard began doubles play against Sochurek and Luna. The Cardinals lost this match, 2-8. Muhiga faced Raupuk and Robillard went against Saborio in singles. Muhiga lost his match (3-6, 4-6) and Robillard also lost his match (0-6, 1-6).
Richards said Muhiga played pretty well but needs to work on two aspects to improve his game.
“Muhiga has a lot to work to do in doubles,” Richards said. “His volleys need to improve a lot and his court positioning as well. He knows he has a lot of work to do there.”
In the second round of doubles play, Sophomore Bryce Bonin and senior Tom Carney faced Saborio and Raupuk. The Cardinals only won two sets in an 8-2 defeat. Bonin and Carney then played in the second round of singles play, both faced Purdue players. Bonin lost his match against Sochurek (4-6, 3-6) and Carney lost his match against Luna (1-6, 2-6).
In the final day, Bonin and Carney began the third round of doubles against Sochurek and Luna. The Cardinals kept it close in an 8-4 defeat. Then, Bonin and Carney played in the final round of singles. Bonin won only one set against Raupuk (6-3, 3-6, 4-6) and Carney won a set against Saborio (3-6, 7-6, 3-6).
For the upcoming Mid-American Conference Indoor tournament, Muhiga said he needs to work on his volleys and backhands.
“This weekend for my volleys, I played more defensively too much than what I’m used to,” Muhiga said. “I’ll be working on playing both defensively and offensively.”
The Cardinals will play their final fall season tournament in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The tournament begins on Nov. 9.