Ball State Wins MAC Men's Tennis Championship

Updated 4/30/2005

April 30, 2005

  • 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
    Singles:
    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

    Doubles:
    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 (WMU) 8-3
    3. Tim Bradshaw/Jeff French (WMU) def. Paul Newman/Klint Knable (BS) 9-8

    Match Notes:
    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 Championships.