Ball State Men’s Tennis (4-3) saw its three-match winning streak come to an end Sunday at the hands of Illinois State (7-5). The match saw both teams find certain periods of success, but the Redbirds were able to edge out a 4-3 win over the Cardinals.
Despite losing their first match of doubles, the Cardinals managed to win the other two matches to gain some early momentum. The duo of freshman Parrish Simmons and junior Thibault De Negri captured the first Cardinal victory of the day 6-1. This win gave the pairing of Simmons and De Negri their third straight doubles match victory in the past three contests.
Junior Chris Adams and freshman Vince Orlando finished off doubles play by edging out their opponents in a 7-6 win. Head coach Bill Richards said he has noticed the development of the two as the season has progressed.
“They have been consistent, and they work really well together. Obviously, they are clicking right now,” Richards said. “Today, they had an incredible match, and their ability to hit big shots in big moments was big for us closing out doubles today.”
During singles play, the Redbirds were able to gain the upper hand in large part due to pulling away in a few close contests. Junior Bryce Bonin, freshman Eli Herran and Adams were all able to take their sets to the last match. However, all three suffered 2-1 losses. Orlando also lost in his singles match by a score of 2-0. These narrow wins were enough to give the Redbirds the victory for the day.
De Negri and Simmons were the only two Cardinals to win their singles matches, each recording 2-0 victories. Dating back to Jan. 25, Simmons has been on a hot streak, winning four consecutive singles matches. Richards said he knew what he was getting with Simmons when he recruited him.
“Parrish is doing what I recruited him to do. I recruited him to win in the middle of our lineup,” Richards said. “After a tough fall, he is stepping up. After today’s match, I let him know how proud I was of him for stepping up.”
Richards said he knows in order to get back in the win column, the team must learn how to finish.
“We have to close out matches we need to win,” Richards said. “We need to come through in the clutch, big moments.”
The Cardinals will take on Cleveland State (4-3) at 2 p.m. Friday at the Northwest Muncie YMCA. The Cardinals will look to avenge their 5-2 loss to the Vikings from last year's contest.