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March 19, 2011
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State men's tennis team extended its winning streak to three Saturday after defeating Ball State, 5-2, and Western Illinois, 4-1, at the Gregory Street Tennis Courts in Normal, Ill.
ISU took on Ball State in the first match of the day, and the Cardinals made an early statement by capturing the doubles point. On the No. 1 court, Dalton Albertin and Cliff Morrison edged Timon Reichelt and Alexander Pelaez, 8-5, while Zane Smith and Derek Carpenter defeated Matej Zlatkovic and Tuomas Manner on the No. 2 court. Skip Span and Mya Smith-Dennis were the only `Birds to record a doubles victory against Ball State, as the duo took down Austin Sansone and Shaun Bussert on the No. 3 court, 8-2.
The Redbirds responded with a big effort in singles play. On the No. 1 court, Pelaez dropped Albertin in straight-sets, 7-5, 6-3, while Reichelt cruised past Smith on the No. 2 court, 6-1, 6-1. Manner defeated Morrison in a tight three-setter on the No. 3 court, 2-6, 6-1, 7-5, while Zlatkovic breezed past Alexandre Bryn on the No. 4 court, 6-3, 6-0, and Span dropped Andres Monroy on the No. 5 court, 7-6, 6-4. Smith-Dennis was the only Redbird to fall in singles, losing to Sansone in straight-sets on the No. 6 court, 6-1, 6-1.
Head coach Cris James shuffled his doubles lineup against Western Illinois, moving Zlatkovic up to the No. 1 court with Reichelt and sending Pelaez down to the No. 2 court with Manner. The changes proved to be a wise decision, as the `Birds were able to capture the doubles point. Reichelt and Zlatkovic defeated Jeff Cote and Patrick Hammers, 8-3, and Smith-Dennis and Span dropped Ben Yue and Francisco Ortiz on the No. 3 court, 8-2. Pelaez and Manner's match on the No. 2 court against Mandela Shepard and Alejandro Buceta was left unfinished at 6-5 after ISU had sealed the doubles point.
In singles, Pelaez took care of Shepard on the No. 2 court, 6-1, 6-2, and Span defeated Ortiz on the No. 5 court, 6-1, 6-4. Manner sealed the Redbird victory with a win over Buceta on the No. 4 court, 6-1, 7-5. The remaining matches were left unfinished.
Overall, James was pleased with Saturday's results.
"We'll take two wins, but we need to play better than we did (Saturday)," James said. "I was happy with the way we rebounded against Ball State after dropping the doubles point. Our doubles play against Western Illinois was okay, but we weren't really challenged. We still need to get better programmed outdoors, but the bottom line is we need to get better. I told the guys it's a long season, and we'll take the two wins and move on, but we need to practice hard and find ways to get better."
The Redbirds will take their three-match winning streak to the east coast next weekend for matches against Columbia and Harvard.
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