Men's Tennis Hosts Doubleheader Saturday
Jan. 31, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The No. 48 Michigan State men's tennis team will look to get back on track this weekend as it hosts a doubleheader of action Saturday afternoon. The Spartans will play Ball State at 12 p.m. and Eastern Illinois at 6 p.m. inside the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility. Admission is free.
"We're excited about being home and competing here," head coach Gene Orlando said. "We've got to be ready to play our best tennis."
This weekend will be MSU's first home match since the season opener on Jan. 11 and after this weekend, MSU won't return for a home match until Feb. 22 against Xavier.
In dual matches, MSU maintains a 14-11 overall record in singles and a 6-7 record in doubles.
Coach O's Cardinal Connection
Facing his mentor, Orlando has compiled a 13-8 record including winning the last seven in a row and eight of the last 10.
"I have the utmost respect for Coach Richards," Orlando said. "He gave me an opportunity and helped me get into the coaching game. Without him, I'm not where I am today. I learned a lot from him being my mentor."
Ball State holds a 2-1 record three matches into its 2014 season. The Cardinals lost its most recent match on Jan. 26 to Cleveland State 5-2.
Junior Ray Leonard leads the way on the singles court. Leonard was a first team All-MAC selection last season and has marked a 2-1 record this season on the top court. Junior Patrick Elliott is 3-0 on the No. 2 court thus far.
In the alleys, the Cardinals are a perfect 6-0 combined on the top two courts. The team of Elliott and Leonard have played all three matches on the top court, going 3-0.
In the last meeting between the schools, MSU beat up Ball State 6-1 in East Lansing.
Eyeing Eastern Illinois
Eric Stark is in his first year leading the Panthers. Sophomore Moritz Kandt played on the top singles court in the team's only match of the season.
Saturday's match will mark the first meeting between the schools in four years. MSU defeated EIU 6-1 on March 13, 2010, in East Lansing.
Tough Schedule Ahead
The Spartans will be battle-tested when it comes time for Big Ten play. The conference currently boasts 10 of its 12 members in the top 73 in the country, including No. 5 Ohio State and No. 19 Illinois.
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