KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The fourth seeded Ball State men's tennis team had another great performance after taking down second seeded Toledo 4-1 Saturday afternoon, in the finals of the MAC Tournament Championships at Western Michigan's Sorenson Courts at the Western Hills Athletic Club.
"I am really proud of our guys," said head Ball State men's tennis coach Bill Richards. I kept telling the guys to think of this as a three day season and to believe that we can do this. After defeating Western Michigan I think that gave us the confidence going into today's match. We took control early and just never let up. We had a solid performance across the board, it was a great team victory to come through this the way we did."
This was the first time the Cardinals had been to the final match of the MAC Tournament Championship since the 2008 season. The last time Ball State won the title was in 2005 at WMU's Sorenson Courts.
BSU lost 4-3 to the Rockets in Toledo during the MAC regular season. Ball State took that close loss to take the early 1-0 advantage over UT after winning the doubles point in today's match.
In doubles action Derek Carpenter and Zane Smith won the first match after defeating N. Likitkumchom and Leo Sarria by a score of 8-5 at the No. 2 slot. At No. 3 doubles the BSU twosome of Shaun Bussert and Austin Sansone took down Mircea Dimofte and Bryant Dudzik 8-4 which secured the doubles point for the Cardinals.
Austin Sansone's two set defeat over Dudzik at No. 6 singles put BSU up 2-0 over the Rockets. Cliff Morrison made it a 3-0 match with his win at the No. 3 position. Toledo would take one point from the Cardinals at No. 1 singles but Andres Monroy's 6-4, 6-4 victory gave Ball State the point it needed to be crowned champions.
The Ball State men's tennis team is led by Richards who is in his 39th season at the helm of the Cardinals. Ball State has now won 20 MAC titles in program history, including 16 undefeated MAC seasons. Ball State has participated in the MAC for the last 31 years, claiming 35 regular season and/ or tournament championships. The legacy began in 1984 after the Cardinals posted a 19-5 overall record and an 8-0 stint in league play. Since the MAC tournament format started in 1997, the Cardinals have won the league tournament six times (1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2011).
Sanson and Morrison at the conclusion of today's match were named to the All-MAC Tournament team.
The Ball State University men's tennis team will compete in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Tournament, May 13-15 at a location that will be announced Tuesday afternoon.
All-MAC Tournament Team
Alex Kalinin - Buffalo
Michael Calderone - WMU
Aleksandar Elezovic - Toledo
Knot Likitkumchorn - Toledo
Ball State 4, Toledo 1 MAC Championship
1. Aleksandar Elezovic (UT) def. Dalton Albertin (BSU) 6-1, 6-1
2. N. Likitkumchom (UT) def. Zane Smith (BSU) 6-4, 4-3
3. Cliff Morrison (BSU) def. Sven Burus (UT) 7-5, 6-2
4. Alexandre Brym (BSU) def. Mircea Dimofte (UT) 6-4, 5-2
5. Andres Monroy (BSU) def. Leo Sarria (UT) 6-4, 6-4
6. Austin Sansone (BSU) def. Bryant Dudzik (UT) 6-2, 6-1
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,3,1,5)