Last week, the Spartan men’s tennis team were injury ridden and anticipating the challenging, chippy teams of Ball State and Eastern Illinois.
“Playing on the road is never easy and Ball State has been a competitive team for as long as I know,” said head coach Gene Orlando last week. “They won the conference tournament in the MAC, which has some quality teams.”
Ball State is Orlando’s alma mater. And last year, Michigan State had a scare by only winning the meet, 4-3. But the men dominated both Ball State and Eastern Illinois last weekend, 7-0, and now have five-straight victories.
“We are rolling,” said a confident Harry Jadun. “We aren’t playing against top 10 teams anymore, but these are teams we’ve had trouble with in the years past. We just know who we are.”
The next opponent for the Spartans is Louisville — a team that the Spartans lost 7-0 on the road to last year. The Cardinals are currently ranked No. 43 nationally, and recently knocked off No. 44 Oregon last weekend, 4-2.
However, the Spartans are expecting to have John Patrick Mullane back in the lineup, who was expected to play last weekend, but ended up sitting out.
Mullane is expected to return to play this weekend, and with a new look. He trimmed off his long, black hair that hit the bottom of his shoulders and it now drops down to the top of his neck.
“I definitely think I’ll be able to add some momentum and give the guys a new look for our team,” said Mullane. “We’re starting to get healthy and everyone is moving in the right direction.”
“It will be interesting to see when he gets back how good we’ll be playing,” added Jadun. “We’ve rose to the occasion and getting JP back will be the missing piece.”
The Spartans take on Louisville at noon on this Valentine’s Saturday and then face IUPUI at 8 p.m. in Indianapolis later that night.
Alex Scharg is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: Scott Wasserman/Impact Sports