MUNCIE, Ind. – The third-seeded Ball State men's tennis team (13-11) earned its ticket to the 2014 Mid-American Conference Tournament Championships with a 4-1 win over second-seeded Toledo (9-8) Friday afternoon at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center.
Ball State returns to the MAC Tournament Championship match for the first time since 2011 season, when the Cardinals won the title at Western Michigan's Sorenson Courts.
The Cardinals will face No. 4 Buffalo at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Cardinal Creek Tennis Center. The Bulls upset top-seeded Northern Illinois by a score of 4-2 earlier in the day to earn a berth in the championship match. Ball State defeated Buffalo in the MAC regular season, 6-1.
"It was a solid performance by our guys today, a nice team win where everyone contributed," Ball State coach Bill Richards said. "We are happy to have the home team in the finals. Buffalo looked awfully good today in upsetting Northern Illinois so we know tomorrow will be huge challenge."
After losing at home to Toledo 4-3 in a match played at Cardinal Creek March 30, the Cardinals managed to take the doubles point again from the Rockets to start the match with an early 1-0 advantage.
After suffering a loss on court two, the top court knotted doubles play 1-1 after Austin Smith and Ray Leonard took down Garrett Cona and Stjepan Sisko by a score of 8-5. At No. 3 doubles, the twosome of Matt Helm and Lucas Andersen defeated the Rockets' Roberto Meza and Ryan Jorgensen, 8-5 which claimed the doubles point for Ball State.
At No. 4 singles, Smith was the first off the court for the Cardinals. The lone senior managed a straight set victory over Ryan Jorgensen, 6-2, 6-1 to put Ball State up 2-0 over Toledo. The Rockets would earn the next point after posting a win at No. 1 singles.
With four courts still playing, Patrick Downs and Andersen were both up a set on their respective courts. Downs would win 6-3, 6-1 over Roberto Meza at the No. 5 spot to give Ball State the 3-1 lead. Andersen would soon follow Downs’ winning ways on court three, taking the second-set tiebreaker against Wong, securing the match for the Cardinals with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) victory.
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