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Michigan State men's tennis improves to 5-0 with impressive sweep over Ball State

February 3, 2024
Freshman Taym Alazmeh jumps right into a celebratory holler during a match against Ball State at the MSU Tennis Facility on Feb. 2, 2024.
Freshman Taym Alazmeh jumps right into a celebratory holler during a match against Ball State at the MSU Tennis Facility on Feb. 2, 2024.

The No. 19 Michigan State men's tennis team faced off against the Ball State Cardinals on Friday, Feb. 2 in East Lansing to look for its fifth win of the season. Michigan State came into this game with an undefeated 4-0 record on the season; each win has been a complete domination by the Spartans. Meanwhile, Ball State is coming into this game on a two-game losing streak after winning its first three games.  

In the first doubles match, sophomore Ozan Baris and freshman Taym Alazmeh were up against junior Petar Petrovic and fifth year senior Parrish Simmons. Baris and Alazmeh made quick work of their upperclassmen opponents and dominated each game the entire match. The dynamic duo eventually won with a score of 6-0, which secured Michigan State its first point of the match over Ball State. 

The second doubles match, however, didn't completely go Michigan State's way. Junior Josh Portnoy and senior Reed Crocker – who represented the Spartans – had a hard time against Ball State's graduate student Eli Herran and redshirt junior Sajin Smith. Portnoy and Crocker just couldn't find any rhythm, and were out of sync for the first three games. The next six games would be back and forth between them, but it was too little too late for a comeback story as Herran and Smith won the set 6-3.

The third match was highly competitive, showing the true athleticism of both the Michigan State and Ball State players. Michigan State's senior Graydon Lair and graduate student Ronald Hohmann faced off against Ball State's juniors Nathaniel Webster and Mason Tran in an entertaining match between the two duos. The match went back and forth between games, and eventually went into a well-deserved tiebreaker duel. Ultimately, the Spartans took over the tiebreaker with a 7-5 score, which gave Lair and Hohmann the win with a final score of 7-6.

In the singles matches, Michigan State would win three of its matches. Sophomore David Saye, junior Josh Portnoy and junior Max Sheldon won their singles matches convincingly.

Saye went on to beat Sajin Smith 6-3 in both the first and second set. Portnoy beat sophomore Broc Fletcher in two sets, with scores of 6-3 and 6-2.

Sheldon also went on to beat Tran as he won both sets 6-3. However the second set was nearly an upset, as Tran went on a streak to almost win. However, Sheldon put his opponent away in the final game to win the set 6-3. The other three matches went unfinished.

Michigan State won the day with a total score of 4-0. Their next opponents will be Middle Tennessee State and Bellarmine on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. for Alumni Day in East Lansing. 

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