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Men's Tennis Hosts In-State Rival Butler Thursday
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Ball State vs. Butler (Thursday, 2:30 p.m.)
Ball State at Notre Dame (Saturday, 11 a.m.)
Next Up:  Mid-American Conference Play:
at Northern Illinois (4/7) at Chicago State (4/8)

2011 Mid-American Conference Tournament Champions

Ball State Plays In-State Rivals Butler and Notre Dame:  The Cardinals went 1-2 at the Boise State Spring Break Classic after posting a 4-3 win over Marquette Friday, March 30.  Ball State will now host in-state rival Butler Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center weather permitting.  The Cardinals then close out non-conference action this week with a trip to Notre Dame Saturday with that match beginning at 11 a.m. Ball State has defeated Butler in back-to-back seasons by a score of 6-1.

Richards Nears Two Milestones:  Head Coach Bill Richards is two-wins shy of reaching 600 overall career victories, he currently owns a career overall mark of 598.  Richards also needs two wins to reach 200 overall Mid-American Conference victories. He has been the head men's tennis coach for 40 years at Ball State.

Leonard Two-Time MAC Player of the Week Recipient:  Ball State freshman Ray Leonard (Bloomington, Ind./North) was named the Mid-American Conference Tennis Player of the Week for the second time this season.  The conference officials announced today.  Leonard helped the Cardinals improve to 6-2 overall on the season after going 3-0 at No. 1 doubles, 2-0 at No. 2 singles and 1-0 and No. 3 singles.  Leonard now owns a 6-2 record in singles and doubles play for the season.  He won in straight sets over Detroit Mercy, Illinois State and Anderson University.  Leonard's victories allowed the Cardinals to earn wins over Detroit Mercy (6-1), Illinois State (4-3) and Anderson (7-0).

Men's Tennis Tabbed the Mid-American Conference Pre-Season Favorite:  The Cardinals are the 2011 defending MAC Tournament Champions.  Ball State welcomes back ten letterwinners from last year's squad including junior Dalton Albertin who was named First Team All-MAC for the first time in his career and was also named to the All-MAC Tournament team in 2010.  Senior Cliff Morrison garnered Second Team All-MAC honors for the third straight season.  Morrison also received The Most Outstanding Player of the MAC Tournament Award along with being voted to the All-MAC Tournament team for the 2011 season joining teammate junior Austin Sansone.

A Look Back at 2010-11:  Ball State has now won 19 regular season championships and 17 tournament titles in program history, including 16-undefeated MAC seasons.  Ball State has participated in the MAC for the last 37 years.  The Cardinals have played in seven NCAA tournaments, five of those were as MAC Tournament champions.  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).

Quote From Head Coach Bill Richards:  We are looking forward to playing at home for the first time in over a month against Butler. They are a talented young team and are much better than their record indicates and our players need to understand that and be ready to go. Notre Dame is one of the best teams on our schedule and we will have to find a way to get off to a good start and get in each individual match early or it will be a tough day. I am anxious to see how we respond to both situations. These are our last two matches before the conference season starts and we need to play well in both and take some momentum into next week.

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