MUNCIE, Ind. - Junior Kristel Sanders outlasted Jill Pastunink at No. 4 singles to give No. 4 Ball State (15-10) a 4-3 victory over No. 5 Western Michigan (11-14) Friday afternoon in the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals which was held at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center.
With the win the Cardinals advance to the MAC tournament semifinals for the first time since 1998 under third year head coach Christine Bader. Ball State will play top-seeded Miami Saturday at 10 a.m.
“As a team we played really tough,” said Bader. “I am really proud of Kristel Sanders for coming back and winning her match a set down and then four match points down in the third set. It was a real team effort and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Sanders win over Pastunink improved her record to 8-1 over MAC opponents this season.
The Broncos got off to a quick start after winning the doubles point. Kathleen Hawkins and Pastunink took down Courntey Earnest and Courtney Wild by a score of 8-2 at No. 1 doubles. On doubles court two Nini Sujashvili and Maggie Remynse earned the 8-4 defeat over Bethany Moore and Kristel Sanders.
The match would come down to the last four singles matches for the Cardinals. Earnest dropped her match at the No. 2 singles position and Paolo Rodriguez would lose at No. 3 which gave the Broncos a 3-0 edge over the Cardinals.
Ball State would start to fight back first with a 6-2, 6-2 win from Wild over Sujashvili on singles court one. Ashlyn Rang followed with straight set victory over Caroline Aleck at the No. 6 spot. Moore continued the winning trend for the Cardinals after beating Kelsey King, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 7-5 at No. 5 and then Sanders clinched the match for Ball State with her win over Pastunink.
The No. 4 Ball State women's tennis team will face No. 1 Miami Saturday at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center. The Cardinal defeated the RedHawks in MAC regular season action 4-3. Ball State was the lone team to beat Miami in league action this season. First serve is at 10 a.m.