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Men's Tennis Defeats Ball State

Spartans improve to 10-4 overall.

March 24, 1998

EAST LANSING, Mich.- The Michigan State men's tennis team returned home Tuesday night to take on Ball State University of the Mid-American Conference. The Spartans jumped out to an early lead because of strong doubles play and never looked back, beating the Cardinals 5-2. MSU improved its record to 10-4 overall. Ball State University is also the alma matter of Michigan State head coach Gene Orlando.

"I really have mixed emotions," said Orlando. "It is always the goal for us to win, but Coach (Bill) Richards was there when I played, and it is always tough to go up against the team you used to play for."

Michigan State started the dual match by winning two of the three doubles matches and earning the doubles point. Senior Benjamin Hetzler and junior Trey Eubanks teamed together at the No. 2 spot to defeat seniors Kevin Donovan and Patrick Vizzone 9-8. The Spartans other doubles' victory came in the No. 3 position when the Green and White sophomore squad of Ivica Primorac and Francisco Trinidad beat junior Juan Fernandez and senior J.D. Hall 8-5.

"The doubles are the key to our team," stated Orlando. "Because they set the tone for the singles competition."

Earning the doubles point must have helped the Spartans singles players because they were able to take four of the six singles matches against the Cardinals. Eubanks was able to continue his strong season in the No. 1 position by defeating senior Bryan Smith 6-4, 6-1. The Michigan State captain improved his overall singles mark to 20-6, and his record at the No. 1 spot to 11-3. At the No. 3 position, Primorac took care of Vizzone in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. Sophomore Ken Kigongo had one of his strongest performances of the season by beating sophomore Ryan Baxter 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 5 position. Trinidad continues to be a solid performer at the No. 6 spot by downing freshman Joe Gabey, also in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3. Hetzler and junior Chris Struck each fought hard in spirited matches but fell just short. Okemos native Struck fell 6-3, 6-3 to Donovan at the No. 2 position. After winning the first set 6-4, Hetzler was up 5-2 in the second when Fernandez fought back to take the set and eventually the match, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 at the No. 4 spot.

The Spartans will look to improve on their 1-0 Big Ten Conference mark this Saturday, March 28 at 1:00 p.m. when they travel to Indiana University. The Michigan State team defeated the Hoosiers earlier in the season 4-3 at the O'Charley's/Vol Classic.

Singles:
1. Trey Eubanks, MSU, def. Bryan Smith, BSU, 6-4, 6-1 
2., Kevin Donovan, BSU, def. Chris Struck, MSU, 6-3, 6-3
3. Ivica Primorac, MSU, def. Patrick Vizzone, 6-2, 6-4
4. Juan Fernandez, BSU, def. Ben Hetzler, MSU, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 
5. Ken Kigongo, MSU, def. Ryan Baxter, BSU, 6-3, 6-3
6. Francisco Trinidad, MSU, def. Joe Gabey, BSU, 6-4, 6-3
Doubles:
1. Smith/Rafael Domenech, BSU, def. Struck/Kigongo, MSU, 8-3
2. Hetzler/Eubanks, MSU, def. Donovan/Vizzone, BSU, 9-8
3. Primorac/Trinidad, MSU, def. Fernandez/J.D. Hall, BSU, 8-5

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