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Western Michigan Beats Ball State, 5-2, to Clinch Share of 21st MAC Championship
Saturday, 04/11/2009
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Western Michigan University Team Page

MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Western Michigan men's tennis team knocked off Ball State, 5-2, outdoors at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center in Muncie, Ind., on Saturday afternoon to remain undefeated in the Mid-American Conference and clinch at least a share of a third-straight MAC championship. The Broncos (15-8, 4-0 MAC) 21st consecutive victory against a MAC opponent added to their conference record with their 21st MAC men's tennis championship.

Ball State (11-9, 3-1 MAC) opened the day by winning the first doubles match at No. 3, but sophomores Michael Calderone and Kazuya Komada fought back to win 8-6 at No. 1 singles and even the doubles competition. The match came down to senior Kevin Hayward and freshman Zeyad Montasser at No. 2 against Ball State's Eduardo Pavia and Andres Monroy.

The two teams battled back and forth and eventually went into a tiebreaker. The Cardinals took a commanding lead, 4-0, and looked to add another point when a WMU shot just missed. The Broncos appealed and the official overruled the call to give WMU its first point, followed immediately by a double fault from the Cardinals. Another crucial point came with the score tied at five as Hayward had to track down a near winner and launch a desperation lob back toward the Cardinals, who missed the ensuing overhead to give WMU the lead, 6-5. The Broncos won the next point to take the tiebreaker, 9-8 (5), and give WMU the doubles point.

The Cardinals weren't deterred and won the first set at each of the first five singles flights, with only Montasser winning his first set at No. 6, 6-4. 

The Broncos, however, fought back and won the second set at No. 1, 2, 3 and 5 to make things interesting in what turned into a four-plus hour war.

Calderone was the first player to complete his comeback with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Cliff Morrison at No. 3 singles that gave WMU a 2-0 lead.

Ball State won at No. 4 to earn its first point of the match, but Komada finished Jose Perdomo 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2 to earn the third point of the match for the Brown & Gold.

The Cardinals stayed alive with a win at No. 5, but then Montasser finished his match with Shaun Bussert 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6) at No. 6 to clinch the victory for WMU. Hayward rounded out the scoring in a battle of MAC Player of the Year candidates with a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 win over Pavia at No. 1 singles, his second win over Pavia on the afternoon.

Hayward's two victories moved him into fifth place all-time at Western Michigan with 187 career victories and he is also fifth in career singles wins with 102.

The Broncos conclude the regular season at home with Senior Day on Sunday, April 19 at 1 p.m. against Toledo. The Broncos need a win to clinch a third-straight undefeated, unshared MAC championship as Toledo can clinch a share with wins over Chicago State and WMU and Ball State can clinch a share with a victory over Northern Illinois and WMU loss.