MAC Men's Tennis Championship Preview

Updated 4/25/2013

Here is a preview of the 2013 MAC Men's Tennis Championship, hosted by Northern Illinois University.

2013 MAC Men's Tennis Championship Bracket


Ball State:
Men's Tennis Heads to MAC Tourney as the No. 1 seed 
MUNCIE, Ind. - The first seeded Ball State men's tennis team will travel to Northern Illinois for the 2013 Mid-American Conference Tournament this weekend, April 26-27.
"This is an exciting and challenging week," said head men's tennis coach Bill Richards.  "The long trip to Buffalo this past weekend and the short turnaround to leave for the tournament on Wednesday makes it tough.  We are proud to have won the regular season championship, but next weekend is another whole season in itself. All four teams are capable of winning the tournament so it should be exciting. The stakes are high and we are looking forward to the challenge."
Ball State will play their first tournament match April 27 against No. 4 Northern Illinois at 10 a.m.  The other two teams that made the tournament were No. 2 Western Michigan and No. 3 Buffalo.  The Cardinals defeated the Huskies 7-0 April 6 earlier in the season.
The Cardinals were crowned MAC regular season champions after their 4-3 victory Saturday at Buffalo.  Ball State is now 16-7 overall and 5-0 in league action.
The MAC regular season crown was the first for the Cardinals since the 2006 season.  Ball State has now won 21 MAC titles in program history, including 17 undefeated MAC seasons. Ball State has participated in the MAC for the last 33 years, claiming 37 regular season and/ or tournament championships.  Since the MAC tournament format started in 1997, the Cardinals have won the league tournament six times (1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2011).
Bulls Ready Themselves for MAC Championships
BUFFALO, NY – What they have been working for throughout the past several months is now only two days away. The University at Buffalo men's tennis team heads to DeKalb, IL for the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championships with the hopes of claiming the league title and the NCAA National Championships bid that goes to the victor.
The Bulls stumbled last weekend, dropping 4-3 home decisions to Ball State and Northern Illinois but the slate is now wiped cleaned. UB (9-9 overall, 3-2 MAC) finished in a three-way tie for second place with Western Michigan and Northern Illinois and through a series of tiebreakers were awarded the third seed in the tournament.
UB will face an old tournament nemesis in Friday's semifinal round, second-seeded Western Michigan. The Bulls and Broncos met in the 2010 and 2012 championship matches with Western Michigan winning both contests. However, UB won the regular season meeting on April 5 with a 4-3 victory marking the Bulls' first win over the Broncos in Kalamazoo. The teams have split their last six meetings, winning three apiece, with UB claiming the last two regular season meetings.
The Bulls are solid at the top of the lineup. At first singles, senior Vusa Hove is 18-11 overall and went 4-1 in MAC play. Hove has won his last five matches, including four three-set contests. An All-MAC honoree the past two seasons, Hove now has 73 singles wins, the second most in UB history. His 121 combined singles and doubles wins also rank him third on that list. It was Hove's victory over Ball State's Dalton Abertin in last year's MAC semifinals that propelled the Bulls into the championship match for the second time in three years.
Damien David, the 2012 MAC Newcomer of the Year and a first-team All-MAC selection as a freshman, has a 17-9 singles record and like Hove was 4-1 against MAC opponents. David won seven straight matches down the stretch of the season with the string stopped in his last contest. In his two seasons in Buffalo, David has compiled 42 singles wins, tied for 15th on UB's all-time list, and his .700 winning percentage in singles play is second only to Hove's four-year mark of .702.
Playing at fourth singles, freshman Pablo Alvarez swept his Ball State and Northern Illinois opponents last week to finish 4-1 in MAC play. He also has double-digit wins with 10 since joining the program in January.
"We know that we are prepared for what lies ahead this weekend," said head coach Lee Nickell. "Even though we have had some tough 4-3 losses these last few weeks we have learned from each match and are focused on playing our best tennis."
The Bulls will face Western Michigan on Friday afternoon at 3:00 pm ET as the second semifinal match. Host and fourth-seed Northern Illinois meets top-seeded Ball State in the day's opening match at 11:00 am. The semifinal winners meet on Saturday, April 27 for the MAC title at 2:00 pm. 
Northern Illinois:
Northern Illinois Set to Host 2013 MAC Men's Tennis Championship 
Huskies will open the tournament Friday morning versus No. 1 seed Ball State
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois (15-8) will host the four-team Mid-American Conference Men's Tennis Championship Friday and Saturday, welcoming Buffalo, regular season champion Ball State and defending tournament champion Western Michigan. 
NIU, the championship's fourth seed, will take on Ball State in the first round at the Huskie Tennis Courts, or at Vaughan Athletic Center in Aurora, Ill. if inclement weather is in the area, at 10 a.m. Central on Friday. The second semifinal featuring Buffalo and Western Michigan will begin at 2 p.m., with the championship taking place Saturday at 1 p.m. All times are Central.
In match updates will be available via Twitter @NIUscores. Scores to all matches of the MAC Championship can be found on the conference’s championship page.
Due to Toledo's loss to Western Michigan Friday April 19, 5-2, the Huskies clinched a MAC Tournament berth. However, the team did not put its weekend in Buffalo on cruise control as the Huskies defeated the Bulls, 4-3. Northern Illinois’ most crucial point came in doubles with the Huskies sweeping all three matches to earn the early 1-0 lead.
The bottom half of NIU’s singles lineup came up clutch in the match as wins at Nos. 5 and 6 by Max Phillips and Maksym Lagutin clinched the contest. Lagutin put the Huskies ahead 3-2 in the match with his 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory at No. 6 and Phillips clinched the Huskies victory at the fifth spot, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2. Dor Amir won his match at No. 2 singles, 6-4, 6-2. The win was Northern Illinois’ 15th of the season and marks the second-straight winning season for the program under Head Coach Patrick Fisher.
Ball State, the Mid-American Conference’s regular season champion with a perfect 5-0 mark, enters the tournament with a 16-7 record, only one win more than the Huskies. Five of the Cardinals seven losses this season have come at the hands of nationally ranked opponents. Patrick Elliott and Austin Smith have been forces at the bottom of the lineup as the pair have combined for a 33-10 record in singles play, with Smith leading the team with 17 triumphs. Dalton Albertin is a perfect 6-0 at No. 1 while Ray Leonard has played a brunt of the matches at the top spot with a 7-9 register.
Buffalo enters the championship with a 9-9 mark and an equal 3-2 clip in the Mid-American Conference for the third seed. The Bulls are 4-6 in their last 10 matches but enter the weekend on a three-match winless streak, including two MAC losses. Singles play has been a strength of UB’s, with winning records at Nos. 1-4. Damien David, the 2012 Mid-American Conference Newcomer of the Year,  leads the team with a 13-5 record at No. 2 while Vusa Hove owns a 10-8 mark at No. 1. David and Akhil Mehta are the top doubles duo at No. 1 with a 7-4 mark.
Western Michigan, the No. 2 seed, owns a 17-9 record and finished 3-2 in MAC play. The Broncos are the defending tournament champions, having defeated NIU and Ball State en route to a NCAA Tournament bid. The biggest win of Western Michigan’s season occurred March 8 when WMU hosted No. 43 Michigan State and defeated the Spartans, 4-3, to start an 8-2 run in its last 10 matches. Nadin Indre, the defending Mid-American Conference Player of the Year is the Broncos top player with a 19-4 mark this season, including 15 wins at No. 1. Indre was a flawless 5-0 at No. 1 and combined for 16 wins in doubles this spring as well.
Check back with for any weather related updates.
The Mid-American Conference Champion will be crowned Saturday afternoon with the winner earning the MAC’s automatic berth the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA will release its bracket April 30 at 4 p.m. Central. The selection show will be streamed online at 
Western Michigan:
Broncos Clinch MAC Tourney Bid
The Western Michigan men's tennis team punched their ticket to the 2013 Mid-American Conference tournament with a convincing win on Senior Day, defeating the Toledo Rockets 5-2 at West Hills Athletic Club in Kalamazoo.  With the win, the Broncos improve to 17-9 on the season, and conclude the MAC schedule with a 3-2 mark.