“I felt that we were prepared and ready to go,” said Ball State Men’s Tennis head coach Bill Richards after the Ball State Men’s tennis team dominated its home match versus the Eastern Illinois Panthers on Friday to open the 2023 spring season.
After a couple of weeks off around Christmas, the Cardinals had packed a lot into the past couple of weeks to prepare for their first match, and being ready to compete was a huge emphasis in practice.
“You want to see what you’ve been working on [in practice] carry over to a match situation both fundamentally and emotionally,” said Richards.
The cardinals swept both doubles and singles pairings, but not all of those matches were easy to come by.
Ball State’s first doubles team of fifth-year Danilo Kovacevic and fourth-year Parrish Simmons won 6-4 over Eastern Illinois’ Alex Dinkov and Cameron Slabbert, while the second doubles of fourth-year Vince Orlando and fourth-year Eli Herran cruised to a 6-1 win. Fourth-year Abe Wojjtalik and first-year Broc Fletcher outlasted Pau Riera and Max Pilipovic-Kljajic of Eastern Illinois in the third doubles match 6-4.
In sixth singles, Ball State’s second-year Petar Petrovic handled William Hays 6-0, 6-1 first-year Jacks Lancaster took the fifth singles to win 6-1, 6-2 and fourth-year Eli Herran won 6-2, 6-2 in the fourth singles slot.
It wasn’t as easy for the Cardinals’ top three singles players, as they had to stave off a feisty Eastern Illinois team.
Orlando took third singles 6-0,6-4, while Kovacevic claimed second singles by a score of 6-4, 6-2.
And lastly, it was a war on court one, as second-year Nathaniel Webster outlasted Cameron Slabbert 6-4, 6-4 in the first singles match.
Overall, it added up to a 9-0 sweep, and a 1-0 start to the season for the Cardinals.
“Eastern Illinois is a team we’ve beaten traditionally, but they always give us some tough matches,” Richards said. “There were situations where we were challenged and we really had to fight through some tough moments, and, for the most part, we did that and kept our composure.”
The team is back in action at home on Friday, January 27th, as they welcome the Illinois State Redbirds at 1 P.M. at the Northwest YMCA.