Men's Tennis Bracket
Note: Story courtesy of Western Michigan sports information
KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- The Western Michigan men's tennis team
(17-7) dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 decision in the Mid-American
Conference Championship title match Saturday afternoon, falling to
No. 72 Ball State (20-8) at Sorensen Courts.
The Cardinals earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA
Championships with the victory while WMU's season comes to an end.
WMU, the host school and defending champion, also fell 4-3 to BSU
during the regular season. Ball State was the event's top seed
while the Broncos earned the No. 2 spot.
BSU opened the match by claiming the doubles point by the
slimmest of margins, a point which proved to be the difference.
Cardinal mentor Bill Richards inserted Anthony Epkey into the
doubles lineup at No. 2 and along with classmate Matt Laramore the
duo earned a quick 8-3 victory over WMU's Jose Orozco and Bryan
Norville. After Western Michigan's Tim Bradshaw and Jeff French
rallied for a 9-8 (3) victory at No. 3, the point came down to a
matchup of nationally ranked squads at No. 1.
Western Michigan's Tommy Dennis and Brady Crosby, ranked
60th in the nation, had the 27th-ranked tandem of Matthew Baccarani
and Patrick Thompson on the ropes, but couldn't seal the match.
WMU had three match points, only to see BSU slip through its fingers
and eventually post a 9-8 (4) decision.
Ball State carried the momentum into singles play, earning
first-set wins in four of the six matchups. Baccarani downed Dennis
6-4, 6-0 at No. 1 before WMU freshman Alex Birchmeier got WMU on the
board with a 6-3, 7-6 (6) decision over Klint Knable at No. 5.
Another BSU win set the score at 3-1 in favor of the Cardinals, but
wins by French and Bradshaw at No. 6 and No. 4, respectively,
knotted the match at 3-3.
The title came down to the Orozco/Laramore contest at No. 2.
Laramore opened things up with a 6-3 win in the first set, but
Orozco held on for a 7-5 victory in set two. With the third set
deadlocked at 4-4 and Orozco on serve, Laramore managed to move
ahead 5-4 and was serving for the title. After falling behind early
and fighting off one match point, Orozco couldn't handle a
Laramore serve on the second match point and the Cardinals were able
to claim the championship title.
MAC Championship Match
Ball State vs Western Michigan
#72 Ball State 4, Western Michigan 3
1. Matthew Bacccarani (BS) def. Tommy Dennis (WMU) 6-4, 6-0
2. Matt Laramore (BS) def. Jose Orozco (WMU) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
3. Anthony Epkey (BS) def. Brady Crosby (WMU) 7-6 (14-12), 6-2
4. Tim Bradshaw (WMU) def. Paul Newman (BS) 3-6, 6-2, 7-5
5. Alex Birchmeier (WMU) def. Klint Knable (BS) 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)
6. Jeff French (WMU) def. Patrick Thompson (BS) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
1. #27 Matthew Bacccarani/Patrick Thompson (BS) def. #60 Brady
Crosby/Tommy Dennis (WMU) 9-8 (7-4)
2. Matt Laramore/Anthony Epkey (BS) def. Bryan Norville/Jose Orozco
3. Tim Bradshaw/Jeff French (WMU) def. Paul Newman/Klint Knable
Ball State 20-8; National ranking #72
Western Michigan 17-7
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,5,3,6,4,2)
BSU wins MAC Championship title, earns league's bid to NCAA