Tennis team begins fall season with success


Jason Howell

Sophomore Grant Thompson serves the ball during his match against his Tennessee Tech opponent on the tennis courts of Charleston High School on March 22. The Eastern men's tennis team opened its fall season at the inaugural EIU invite and hosted Olivet Nazarene and Missouri-St. Louis.

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

The Eastern women’s tennis team started its fall season winning the No. 1 doubles title at the SIU Edwardsville Invitational Sunday.

The women went a combined 12-7 in singles and 9-3 in doubles action in Edwardsville.

Senior Sephora Boulbahaiem and freshman Grace Summers paired up and hit past their doubles competition, winning the No. 1 flight title in doubles play with a 4-0 record.

The duo defeated the team of Jenna Wallace and Nicole Jones of Western Illinois, 6-0. The doubles’ champions also came away with a very close victory over Aspen Cervin and Madison Cook of Saint Louis, 7-6

Juniors Ali Foster and Hannah Kimbrough had a record of 3-1 at No. 2 doubles as well for the Panthers.

Summers also added a 3-1 record in her singles matches. She won her first match against Arianna Demos of Western Illinois in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.

Sophomore Kamile Stadalninkaite went 3-1 in her singles matches for Eastern. She was able to win a close match with Madison Cook of Edwardsville, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Stadalninkaite also went 2-1 in her doubles matches teaming up with sophomore Kelly Iden.

Director of Tennis John Blackburn said he was pleased with the weekend performance by the Panthers.

He was especially happy with the way the women fought through and were able to win close matches.

“It was a great team effort,” he said.

The Eastern women will play host to Olivet Nazarene on Oct. 6, as the Panthers will play at Darling Courts.

The Eastern men’s tennis team began its fall season, hosting the inaugural EIU invite during the weekend at Darling Courts.

The Panthers combined to go 24-5 in singles play at the two-day event against Olivet Nazarene and Missouri-St. Louis. Eastern also recorded a 10-4 mark in doubles play.

Eastern freshmen Trent Reiman and Grant Reiman each went 6-0 in singles and teamed up to go 3-0 in doubles play.

The Panthers also had success coming from their returning players.

Juniors Ryan Henderson and Rui Silva tallied 3-0 records in singles and Sophomore Grant Thompson joined them by also going undefeated in his three singles matches.

Eastern’s men’s tennis coach Eric Stark said he was very happy with how things went during the weekend, as the Panthers debuted their newly renovated Darling Courts.

Stark said the consistency was much better the second day compared to the first day of the opening event for the Panthers.

Like the Reiman brothers, fellow freshman Jared Woodson played in his first collegiate tennis match. Woodson said staying concentrated during his matches was the most difficult part playing in college for the first time.

“Just staying focused was the hardest part because the matches this weekend were like practice matches and the whole point is to just get better,” he said.

The next time the men play will be at the SIU Saluki Invitational on Oct 18, in Carbondale.


Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]